An Owl Too Many (Peter Shandy, Book 8)
Original publication: 1991
When a nocturnal hike turns deadly, Professor Peter Shandy takes an interest in owl spottingEmory 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 programming—a 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?
to have been the prime topic of conversation, but today Peter had too much else to talk about. “I called Cronkite Swope to see about the photographs he took of Fanshaw, and he says there isn’t one where the man’s face shows clearly. He managed somehow to keep his head turned away from the camera every time. And the eeriest part of all is that when we tried to get up a description of Fanshaw for the state police to track him down, not one of us could remember what the bugger looked like.” Peter
poking at its keys in a flurried, furtive way as though she feared they might poke her back. “Tell you what, Winifred,” he said, “if you haven’t heard from the Compotes by the end of the day, let me know. I’ll pick you up in the morning and take you there myself.” “Oh Peter, that’s too much to ask. Your classes—” “Lab sessions. My teaching fellow can handle them, she’ll welcome the experience. If they do call, let’s go anyway. Tell them you’ll be there by half-past ten. I’ll pick you up here
was follow the river along until they spied a likely-looking tugboat. Would the boat be docked where they could climb aboard easily? Or would they have to swim out with daggers between their teeth, pirate-style? Where would they get the daggers? What if it wasn’t actually a tugboat? No matter, it must at least look like a tugboat, or Winifred wouldn’t have given that clue. Whatever it was would likely be hell to find in pitch-dark and pouring rain, particularly when they’d have to be careful in
legitimately and with Miss Rondel’s willing acquiescence. Here was indeed a puzzlement. To which, no doubt, the often mentioned but as yet unseen Dr. Bee would give a tidy, unpuzzling answer as soon as he’d got around to examining the corpse. Then Mrs. Bright would be freed of all care, somebody or other would be stuck with administering Jasper Flodge’s estate for better or for worse, and Peter Shandy would be wending his way back to Helen with a stash of lupine seeds in the glove compartment
least that’s what they always claim in the mystery novels. I was reading the other day—” Nobody was listening. Peter, Elva, Albert, and Frank were all giving Cynthia the eagle eye. She flushed, tossed her head, and bent over the open mouth. “My God!” She straightened up and backed away, her face now chalk white. “He does smell like almonds. Here, Al, you try.” “I think you’re nuts.” Nevertheless, Albert sniffed. “By jeezum, Frank, she’s right. Go ahead, call me a liar.” “Never knew a time