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An Owl Too Many (Peter Shandy Mysteries) by…

An Owl Too Many (Peter Shandy Mysteries) (original 1991; edition 1992)

by Charlotte MacLeod

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Title:An Owl Too Many (Peter Shandy Mysteries)
Authors:Charlotte MacLeod
Info:Mysterious Pr (1992), Paperback

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An Owl Too Many by Charlotte MacLeod (1991)



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I only managed one chapter, it was so stilted and the characters so very weird. I guess it is supposed to have some kind of nutty charm but it completely failed for me.
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Winifred Binks, first met in Vane Pursuit, is pursuing the plans she had for her late grandfather's millions in the last chapter of that book. Other persons have other plans for as much of her money as they can get. The first attempt takes place during Balaclava's Annual Owl Count. It fails, but there is a murder. The more Peter Shandy and supporting cast look into the victim's life, the more puzzling the mystery becomes. Another puzzle shows up, then mysteriously vanishes. One of Professor Bink's employees is kidnapped. Another is assaulted. The Binks trust officer seems reluctant to do what the lady wants. The heiress herself vanishes.

Peter and Balaclava College President Thorkjeld "King Kong" Svensen are hot on the trail. There's a lot of action and no little danger to be found on the Clavaclammer River during a big storm. Who's guilty? Who isn't? If you're like me, you'll be too busy enjoying the banter to notice the clues during your first read. Good thing this is one of those screwy characters-driven mysteries that are fun to reread.

Mark Hess is the artist for the cover with the snowy owl in the foreground, a river and boat in the background, loads of trees, some broken branches, and a knife to the right of the owl's right wing. The owl having dollar signs for pupils in its golden eyes is a cute touch.

For my fellow Shandy fans who love those little character revelations but can't remember which book they're in (I had had to look up the first one here and it wasn't in the first book I thought it was in):

In chapter 19 of The Luck Runs Out President Svenson wanted to wear the red knitted ski cap with the white 'doodad' (as he called its bobble), that daughter Birgit had given to him, but Sieglinde made him wear his gray one. I guess Sieglinde wasn't worried about her husband's dignity this time, because Thorkjeld is wearing the red cap for the owl count.

Professors Binks and Enderble have set up a museum of local flora and fauna on the old Binks estate and already teaching nature study classes there. Professor Ames will be doing a program on soil conditioning after the television station gets built. (This is where we learn Ames' response when someone suggests his program could use some sex and violence.)

Ch.2: Iduna Stott has a secret mustard dressing recipe that she's promised to will to the College Home Arts Department.

Ch.3: Professor Binks has an Old Boston accent.

Ch.4: Peter's third-grade teacher read Thorton Burgess stories to the class when they'd been good.

Lumpkin Upper Mills' Bursting Bubble nightclub that burned down in Vane Pursuit has reopened in a former bowling alley on Clavaton Road.

Helen writes articles for Wilson's Library Bulletin.

The 1974 Plymouth Valiant Balaclava County Fane and Pennon staff car that was destroyed in Vane Pursuit has been replaced by a 1976 Dodge sports coupe that's red with white stripes around the sides.

Cronkite Swopes got a photo of Gudrun Svenson looking up at an owl.

Cronkite graduated summa cum laude [Latin is no longer always in italics in this series] from the Great Journalists' Correspondence School.

Edna Mae Ottermole regards her hubbie as a cross between Sir. Launcelot and Eliot Ness.

Ch.5: Prof. Binks' accountant's name is Mrs. Chilicothe.

The Balaclava College field station is on the Whittington Road.

The town of Whittington is a neighbor to the town of Lumpkinton.

Ch. 7: Inkeeper Mrs. Ellie June Freedom is second cousin to Edna Mae Ottermole's sister's mother-in-law, which is why Fred didn't give her any backtalk.

Edmund the cat ate a page or two of a romance novel and it made him sick to his stomach. He's partial to bean sprouts, if Ottermole wasn't joking about that.

The Balaclava Junction lockup has Civil War-era bars, Coolidge administration-era indoor plumbing, and the woodwork was last painted by the WPA when FDR was president.

Peter doodles fat rabbits. Helen doodles daisies, fleecy summer clouds, butterflies, and the occasional bumblebee.

Clavaton has a rental car service called the Happy Wayfarer.

Ch. 8: Officer Dorkin is learning things from reading Charlie Chan and Dr. Fu Manchu novels from his grandmother's attic. Also, he has an Aunt Maude who has a new boyfriend.

ch.9 Helen's research has revealed that Belial Buggins invented the Balaclava Boomerang. Belial is also mentioned as the reputed father of Hilda Horsefall from Wrack and Rune.

Birgit and Hjalmar Olaffssen have more than one child by now. They've been awarded a trophy by the National Raspberry Growers' Association.

Miss Binks reminds Peter of his fourth-grade teacher.

Jane Austen, the Shandy's cat, now likes to go for rides in their car. [She was too timid to go as far as the Enderbles house in 'Counterfeit Christmas' from Christmas Stalkings. Given that this novel takes place in October, perhaps that short story is supposed to take place before the February of The Corpse in Oozak's Pond, even though Corpse came out in 1987 and Vane in 1989. Then again, if enjoying car rides has nothing to do with being reluctant to stray far from the house on paw, 'Counterfeit Christmas' could take place between An Owl Too Many and the next novel.]

Ch.10 Either Helen or Peter has remembered Edmund's precise relationship to Jane incorrectly because here Helen says that Edmund is Jane's sixth cousin once removed whereas Peter said they were fourth cousins six times removed in Something the Cat Dragged In.

The Balaclava County Fane and Pennon has put out its first special Sunday edition.

Ch. 11: Unless Roy Ames is calling it that as a joke, there's a store called the Hoddersville Hoochery.

Ch. 14: Purvis Mink and Alonzo Bulfinch are the security guards who heed the call of duty. Alonzo is still rooming with Mrs. Betsy Lomax.

Ch. 16: Things must have been rough for Thorkjeld Svenson -- his hair is described as gray-black in chapter 4 of The Corpse in Oozak's Pond and it's iron gray here. Of course, it was also iron gray in chapter 3 of Rest You Merry. Was the college president experimenting with hair coloring at one point? ( )
  JalenV | Jan 11, 2012 |
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For Elizabeth Walter
with deep respect, sincere gratitude,
and much affection.
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Professor Peter Shandy spied it first, to nobody's surprise.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
When boorish Emory Emmerick is netted and stabbed to death during the Annual Owl Count at Balaclava Agricultural College and then fellow avian researcher and local millionairess Professor Winifred Binks is kidnapped, Peter Shandy steps in to investigate.
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When a nocturnal hike turns deadly, Professor Peter Shandy takes an interest in owl spotting Emory Emmerick comes to Balaclava Agricultural University as a scout for a television station. Although the faculty and students are hardly ready for prime time, Emmerick's interest is in environmental programminga subject that inspires even the driest Balaclava professor to wax poetic. In his search for material, Emmerick joins Peter Shandy and a few of his colleagues on the annual owl-count. And though the television producer's loud mouth and heavy feet make him a dismal birdwatcher, none of the academics expect him to make a fatal blunder. Chasing what appears to be a badly lost snowy owl, Emmerick stumbles into a trap that yanks him into a tree. By the time the professors reach him, he's been stabbed to death. Discovering that the snowy owl was nothing more than a handful of feathers attached to a fishing pole, Shandy concludes that Emmerick was murdered. Plenty of people might like to kill a television producer, but which would-be killer had the gall to make the helpless Nyctea scandiaca an accomplice?… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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