From New England, a murder-in-academia charmer--featuring Balaclava Agricultural College's aging bachelor prof Peter Shandy (famous for his rutabaga cultivation). Peter has fled from his Balaclava Crescent home during the frenetic yuletide festivities and returns to find his best friend's wife, bossy Jemima Ames, dead on his living-room floor. An accidental fall while busy-bodily rearranging Peter's Christmas decorations? Peter thinks not--and finds a co-sleuth in Balaclava's new librarian, Helen Marsh, who wins his heart with her ability to pluralize Latin nouns correctly. Another death follows (the comptroller, by taxine poisoning), and the sneaky, bookish solution--also involving sleds, masks, and echoes of Ngaio Marsh--comes hand in hand with the fruition of the romance. Some will find this a trifle too ho-ho-ho for its own good, but lovers of literate campus mystery-revels will be especially pleased not to have to Buy British for once.