Tuesday, April 15, 2008

BOOK: The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H Cook

The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H Cook

Book Awards Challenge, 1997 Edgar Winner

What does Edgar mean to you? When I hear Edgar Allen Poe, I think of creepy, suspenseful writing, really spooky stuff, and this prize is given by The Mystery Writers of America to the best in mystery fiction. I think I've got a new list to check out, as I love a good suspenseful, not gory, book. One of the first winners of the Edgar was The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler in 1955 and I loved that one last year.

1927, Massachusetts. We begin in the old age of our narrator as he recollects the events of the Chatham School Affair, as it was known. Henry was a teenager at the time, and knew all the participants from his father's school. I won't give away any more of the story, but I was very impressed with the plot as it appeared to be foreshadowing, and it was, but Cook tantalizingly gave details bit by bit, so that as more of the story came out, my head was spinning. Just so well done. And even though I thought I knew what had happened, it still twisted at the end very believably.

The atmosphere of the time and New England was terrific, but I am often drawn to that Dead Poets' Society type of story. The teen narrator, who sees life one way, is idealistic and dismissive of his father. He tells the story from his younger point of view, but with an adult perspective of the choices he made. I am trying to review this without giving anything away, so I am sounding very vague. It is a good story, and you don't need to know anything about it before hand to enjoy it.


  1. I've heard good things about this book. Need to bump it up on my TBR. Good review!

  2. I've read two books by this author; one was good, the other wasn't. :) I haven't made it to this one yet, but it's been on my TBR list forever. I hope to get to it one day.

  3. sam - I had heard lots good as well.

    joy - now I don't know which one of his to read next.

  4. I loved this book! I read it many years ago. I recommend Breakheart Hill next.


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