A gruesome murder leads Professor Peter Shandy to uncover an ancient Viking curse. When 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. Review quotes: "One of the most gifted mystery authors writing today." - Sojourner Magazine. "The screwball mystery is Charlotte MacLeod's cup of tea." - Chicago Tribune. "Charlotte MacLeod does what she does better than anybody else does it; and what she does is in the top rank of modern mystery fiction." - Elizabeth Peters, creator of the Amelia Peabody series. Biographical note: Charlotte MacLeod (1922-2005) was an internationally bestselling author of cozy mysteries. Born in Canada, she moved to Boston as a child, and lived in New England most of her life. After graduating from college, she made a career in advertising, writing copy for the Stop & Shop Supermarket Company before moving on to Boston firm N. H. Miller & Co., where she rose to the rank of vice president. In her spare time, MacLeod wrote short stories, and in 1964 published her first novel, a children's book called "Mystery of the White Knight." In "Rest You Merry" (1978), MacLeod introduced Professor Peter Shandy, a horticulturist and amateur sleuth whose adventures she would chronicle for two decades. "The Family Vault" (1979) marked the first appearance of her other best-known characters: the husband and wife sleuthing team Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn, whom she followed until her last novel, "The Balloon Man", in 1998.