Wrack and Rune (Peter Shandy, Book 3)
Original publication: 1982
A gruesome murder leads Professor Peter Shandy to uncover an ancient Viking curseWhen 105-year-old Hilda Horsefall tells young reporter Cronkite Swope of a stone carved with Norse runes that once sat in the nearby woods, the writer starts salivating at the thought of breaking the news that Vikings once marauded through their sleepy Massachusetts countryside. But while he’s jotting down notes, a scream rings out, and Cronkite finds an even bigger story. A farmhand has been burned to death by quicklime, and Cronkite gets an exclusive scoop. In this neck of New England, strange deaths are invariably referred to Professor Peter Shandy, the only local with the know-how to connect fearsome quicklime to the Vikings of old. But as he digs into the ancient mystery, he finds the forgotten Norse gods are not above demanding a modern sacrifice.
of bubbling quicklime. If he got killed, fine. If he didn’t, Nute would have a lovely reason to sue the Horsefalls for custody and damages. Since they had nothing but their property to pay him off with, he’d wind up with the Horsefall farm in his pudgy pink hands. After that, he’d no doubt be more than willing to bargain with Loretta Fescue and her eager client. A few years from now, these rich acres would be covered with blacktop and supermarkets, like as not. If there could be a worse crime
my story. Keep the helmet to show your uncle if you want to. I’ll be around to get his opinion first thing tomorrow morning. Nice to have met you, Mrs. Svenson. Thank your wife again for the wonderful dinner, Professor Shandy.” Before Swope had quite finished his polite adieux, he was gunning the motorbike he’d ridden over from Lumpkin Corners. “I have a feeling we’ve unleashed a monster,” Shandy mused. Nobody paid any attention to him. Tim didn’t hear and Thorkjeld was busy kissing Sieglinde
them, and stay on this side. The dogs are to protect us all as much as anything else. If you see someone trying to escape and you can interfere successfully without getting hurt, do so. If I call for help, bring the dogs and come around to the front. If you’re threatened with a weapon of any sort, get out of the way. We’ll let the police handle any rough stuff.” Thorkjeld Svenson’s only reply was an amused snort. “Don’t get your hopes up, President,” Shandy told him. “Our bird may not be
the open barn, passing a battered sedan that was parked out front. Its inside was crammed with paintpots, pieces of lumber, and tools of various descriptions. Its outside appeared to be an old shade of brown. Or was it something else? Shandy turned his flashlight on the car and decided it might well be purple, that trickiest of all colors under incandescent light. His heart catapulted into his throat. He muttered to Svenson, “We’re in business,” and went in. It was past Fergy’s closing time now.
bilious green, arranged just so: two at the ends and one in the exact middle, all balanced diagonally on their points instead of sitting flat on their bottoms. Mrs. Lomax had never been able to see that it mattered how she left them, since he hardly ever set foot in the parlor except to find fault on cleaning day, but she’d always heard about her dereliction in that tiresome, yappy old voice of his if she hadn’t put them back just right after she’d vacuumed the furniture, so she’d learned to