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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 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?

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