From the New York Times
bestselling author of Chocolat
comes a dark, suspenseful tale in the tradition of Patricia Highsmith about a sociopathic young outcast at an antiquated prep school and the curmudgeonly Latin teacher who uncovers his dangerous secret.
After thirty years at St. Oswald’s Grammar in North Yorkshire, England, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go. Each class has its own clowns, rebels, and underdogs—all who hold a special place in the old teacher’s heart. But every so often there’s a boy who doesn’t quite fit the mold. A troublemaker. A boy with darkness inside.
With insolvency and academic failure looming, a new headmaster arrives at the venerable school, bringing with him new technology, sharp suits, and even girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist these steps toward the future, a shadow from his past begins to stir again. A boy who still haunts Straitley’s dreams twenty years later. A boy capable of terrible things.
Wow — this was one of those books that again I could not put down. If you know me, you know I love reading about boarding schools, and this author captured all the nuances quite accurately. It was not only believable (so many books are just ridiculous – full of overprivileged and clueless rich kids with absent parents) but it captured the clash of old versus new. These types of schools often have teachers who have devoted their entire career to them – and have even been a student there themselves. They were educated there, lived there, worked there, and have become part of the fabric of the school. Straitley is one of those. So while yes, this is a mystery and is suspenseful, I found the character development and the portrayal of the intricacies and loyalties of a life in a school so very interesting.
Well-written and worth the read!
Thank you for my review e-copy!