On Christmas Day, a University scrooge finds a murdered librarian.
Each December, the faculty of Balaclava Agricultural College goes wild with Christmas lights. The entire campus glitters with holiday decorations, save for one dark spot: the home of professor Peter Shandy. But after years of resisting the Illumination festival, Shandy snaps, installing a million-watt display of flashing lights and blaring music perfectly calculated to drive his neighbors mad. The horticulturalist flees town, planning to spend Christmas on a tramp steamer, but soon feels guilty about his prank and returns home to find his Christmas lights extinguished, and a dead librarian in his living room.
Wishing to avoid a scandal, the school's head asks Shandy to investigate the matter quietly. After all, Christmas is big business, and the town needs the cash infusion provided by the Illumination. As Peter Shandy will soon find, though, there is a dark side to even the whitest of white Christmases.