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The Curse of the Giant Hogweed (Peter Shandy #5)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  426 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Professor Peter Shandy, Balaclava College's best amateur sleuth, takes on a pest threatening to wipe Britain's lovely hedgerows. With colleagues Dan Stott and Timothy Ames, he leaves the groves of academe for fancy fieldword in the heart of Wales. Never in their wildest dreams did the three expect the bizarre events awaiting them.... Where Miss Hilda Horsefall's recipe for ...more
Paperback, 168 pages
Published April 1986 by Avon Books (first published 1985)
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Dec 06, 2012 marked it as did-not-finish
Some other day, a whimsical magic adventure in an otherwise mundane mystery series might appeal to me. At the moment, it reads like a dream sequence, and I want to kill it with fire.
Ivonne Rovira
Dec 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Professors Peter Shandy, Daniel Stott and Tim Ames — not content with investigating malefaction in Balaclava County in western Massachusetts — get ensnared in a mystery in Wales when they head across the Atlantic where they’ve been summoned to deal with pestilential species called the hogweed. Somehow the trio enter a pub and find themselves trapped in an alternative universe — or something.

It’s not that I don’t like alternative universes: After all, I loved the Harry Potter books, The Magic Th
Dec 09, 2014 rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. This entry into MacLeod's Peter Shandy Mystery series is different from all of her others. It took a bit to get into it because of the old fashioned language she uses in this. Once I got used to it, the story was quite funny, and I am glad I read it.
Peter Shandy, Tim Ames, and Don Stott have gone to Wales (along with Peter and Tim's wives) for a conference on The Giant Hogweed. After a lecture about as exciting as you'd expect, the men head to a pub, where Peter falls asleep. The remainder of the book deals with the bizarre dream he has about medieval Wales. The characters in it are strikingly similar to many of the characters from Balaclava College. Yes, a murder is involved. Yes, Shandy solves it. It's like MacLeod had a drunken bet she c ...more
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Cute but rather silly story. Three professors from Balaclava Agricultural college are in England for a symposium on the giant hogweed invasion. When they stop at a pub for a drink, they are somehow transported into ancient Wales, where they meet a knight who thinks he's been enchanted as a bard (and who has an amazing resemblance to President Svenson.) They end up meeting his family, some witches, and discover the cure (?) for the hogweeds. Interesting, but not up to her usual standards. The att ...more
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like nothing better than a funny fantasy novel with a bit of a mystery thrown in. Make the main characters academics, and there is a recipe for fun. Professors Peter Shandy, Timothy Ames and Daniel Stott have traveled from Balaclava Agricultural College in Massachusetts to the England to help deal with an overwhelming problem with Giant Hogweed, which threatens to overrun the historic hedgerows of the British Isles. Little do they expect that a brief stop at an old pub will whisk them into med ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery
I started the book and did a double take. Like Peter Shandy I did't understand what was happening. How did this mild mannered college professor end up back in time and lost in Wales? Reading reviews here on Goodreads helped. At least I knew what I was up against. But the language did me in. So I read the beginning and the end ... I did enjoy the ending, Charlotte MacLeod wrote so well, but I couldn't read the rest.
Margaret Bond
Feb 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't like this Peter Shandy mystery as well as the others I've read, mainly because it involves a mythological adventure in Wales instead of a crime set at Balaclava College in Massachussetts. It still has eccentric characters and a funny way with words. I could do without the profanity.
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Not one of my favorites of her books. Very strange fantasy concept. I would love to ask her just why she wrote this one!
May 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Charlotte Armstrong’s heroes exercise wit in uproarious circumstances. Best of all, she infused in all her work, the most unique edge. Every title stands out and her unforgettable covers are a hodgepodge of classic mystery, something macabre, and sheer whimsy. She possessed an unmitigated gift to make you feel her protagonists were sharing normal concerns; while you marvelled at the assortment of oddities she dreamed up. Plots that *might* happen but which none of us heard of! She laid out a com ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Curse of the Giant Hogweed is the fifth book in Charlotte MacLeod's Peter Shandy series and totally unlike anything I have read from MacLeod before -- and I loved it!
Peter is in England with his friends and colleagues, Dan Stott and Tim Ames. They're attending a conference to work on combatting the problem of the giant hogweed which had been overthrowing the countryside and endangering other plants -- and people. While searching for a good drink and a specimen of hogweed the three stop off a
Sep 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Silly, absurd, fantastic!

Of all of Charlotte MacLeod/Alisa Craig's mystery series, the Peter Shandy series is my favorite. None of them are Important Literature by any means. They are pure fluff, but oh, so much fun!

A lot of people don't seem to appreciate this one, and it's understandable. The series is generally based at a fictional agricultural college in modern (late 20th-early 21st century) New England. In this book, our heroes are transported back in time to the period of knights and drago
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
#5 in the Peter Shandy mystery series.

The giant hogweed, a creeping menace known for crushing the life out of any plant foolish enough to get in its way, has put the hedgerows and pastures of the English countryside in jeopardy. Fishermen find their streams clogged, young lovers are caught with rashes in embarrassing places, and the English nudist colony has been all but exterminated. Only Peter Shandy, the famed horticulturalist responsible for the world's finest rutabaga, can save the day. Bu
May 26, 2015 rated it liked it
#5 in the Professor Peter Shandy tongue-in-cheek mystery series. Professor Peter Shandy, Balaclava College's best amateur sleuth, takes on a pest threatening to wipe out Britain's lovely hedgerows. With colleagues Dan Stott and Timothy Ames, he leaves the groves of academe for fancy fieldword in the heart of Wales and soon find themselves in a fantasy early Middle Ages type world. The tone is solid humor as the three work themselves through various situations, life threatening and not, as well a ...more
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, series
Still the same lovable characters, but the setting was distinctly different. While in England on the Welsh border, researching the problem of giant hogweed plaguing farmers and anyone rural, Professors Shandy, Stott, and Ames find themselves in long ago Wales, also troubled by giant hogweed. They navigate their way through some fantastic adventures, but find the cure for giant hogweed along the way.
Niki Beecher
Aug 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
Ripoff!! I like MacLeod's Shandy series, so bought the "next book", which turned out to be this one, which turned out to be a completely different kettle of fish, as it were. It's total fantasy, not that well done, and has nothing to do with any of the Shandy books I read or expected. I got far enough in to think "WTF??", glanced ahead a few chapters--it didn't change--went to the end, and threw it away. Shame on you, Charlotte!
Jenn Estepp
Definitely the weirdest entry in this series (or maybe any mystery series). The "mystery" is a frame for Macleod to write a fantasy romp extended dream sequence, like just kind of plopping some of her characters down in the middle of a Welsh/Norwegian Monty Python sketch. It takes a mental adjustment, but once you get there it's quite fun and must've been a hoot to write.
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
I can’t express how much I enjoy Charlotte MacLeod’s stories. However, I didn’t care for this one. She sets her characters in a dream which takes place in ancient Wales. I enjoy fantasy stories but this just felt wrong. It was hard for me to get through and I found myself skimming through most of it. I will continue with the series and hope the dreamscape is a onetime deviation.
Denise Spicer
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was ok
Featuring Peter Shandy and friends in an odd and not completely convincing story set in medieval Wales. Full the usual Shanty silliness, this book is a slow read due to uninteresting “mystery’ and clumsy, made up olden day dialect.
Dec 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2013
Interesting diversion in this series as the entire story is a dream sequence in which Peter and two of his cronies from Balaclava College are transported to a medieval world and go on a classic swords and sorcery quest. It's as witty and tongue-in-cheek as the rest of the series.
Peter Barr
This is a series of humorous mysteries where the protagonist is a professor at an agricultural college in Massachusetts. This particular one is very different. That's all I can say without giving away the story. They are generally a nice, light read.
Jan 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: mystery
Although this has some interest and I imagine it was an interesting for Ms. MacLeod to write, all I can really say about it is, "Weird!"
Feb 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very fun. Much different from the other Peter Shandy Mysteries. This one takes on a mystic adventure in another place and time.
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
omg what fun!
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Definitely different, but fun
Mary Rose
It was interesting fantasy departure but not my favorite of the Peter Shandy books.
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-series
Once I got through the first couple a chapters thinking "what the hell is this", I actually began to enjoy it immensely! The quirkiness is BACK!
Kathryn McCary
Unbearable. The underlying idea would have been fun, but the incompetent Olde Englishe was excruciating. Too bad …
Kailey (BooksforMKs)
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Amusing, but not amazing.
Jody Hamilton
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
I usually like the Peter Shandy myteries by Charlotte Macleod, but had a hard time getting through this one.
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Naturalized US Citizen

Also wrote as Alisa Craig

Charlotte MacLeod, born in New Brunswick, Canada, and a naturalized U.S. citizen, was the multi-award-winning author of over thirty acclaimed novels. Her series featuring detective Professor Peter Shandy, America's homegrown Hercule Poirot, delivers "generous dollops of...warmth, wit, and whimsy" (San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle). But full
More about Charlotte MacLeod

Other Books in the Series

Peter Shandy (10 books)
  • Rest You Merry (Peter Shandy, #1)
  • The Luck Runs Out (Peter Shandy, #2)
  • Wrack and Rune (Peter Shandy, #3)
  • Something The Cat Dragged In (Peter Shandy, #4)
  • The Corpse in Oozak's Pond (Peter Shandy, #6)
  • Vane Pursuit (Peter Shandy, #7)
  • An Owl Too Many (Peter Shandy, #8)
  • Something in the Water (Peter Shandy, #9)
  • Exit the Milkman (Peter Shandy, #10)