The Chatham School Affair Hardcover – Large Print, Sep 1997
|New from||Used from|
|Hardcover, Large Print, Sep 1997||
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
In 1926 Henry Griswald was a kid, a student of the lovely and unusual Elizabeth Channing, who had recently arrived in his coastal Massachusetts village to teach art at a private school run by his father. Decades later, the people of Henry's village are still racked by guilt and troubled by uncertainty--who, or what, drove Miss Channing to madness and murder? Henry Griswald, narrator of The Chatham School Affair, holds the key. Using the same dark, brooding tone that permeated Breakheart Hill, Thomas Cook has crafted a disturbing yet entertaining psychological thriller. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Like the best of his crime-writing colleagues, Cook (Breakheart Hill) uses the genre to open a window onto the human condition. In this literate, compelling novel, he observes the lives of people doomed to fates beyond their control and imagination. One character here comments: "If you look back on your life and ask, What did I do?, then it means that you didn't do anything." Elizabeth Channing is trying to change the path of her life as, in 1926, she arrives to teach art at a small boys' school located in the Cape Cod village of Chatham. Believing that "life is best lived at the edge of folly," she immediately enthralls the novel's narrator, Henry, the headmaster's son. But Elizabeth is drawn to a fellow teacher, Leland Reed, a freethinker who is unhappily married and has begun to have serious doubts about his life. The inevitable tragedy and its aftermath is narrated by a mature, melancholy Henry looking back at the strange, bleak fates of those involved. Cook is a marvelous stylist, gracing his prose with splendid observations about people and the lush, potentially lethal landscape surrounding them. Events accelerate with increasing force, but few readers will be prepared for the surprise that awaits at novel's end. Literary boundaries mean little to Cook; crime fiction is much the better for that.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
I'm an impatient fan of the suspenseful page-turner. Reading this novel was a refreshing read. I likened it more to literary fiction than the contemporary thriller or suspense/mystery.
The prose is flawlessly written in a style so descriptive, I was moved with the characters' own emotions and felt surrounded in Cook's settings.
The actual story moves brilliantly from past to present, focusing more on the events of the past. It is the narrator's recollection of a series of events that lead to a series of deaths in small-town Massachusetts, in the late 1920's.
Despite the slower pace than that which I was used to, I found myself reading on, compelled to answer Cook's chief question, "What really happened at Black Pond that day?"
The ending ties all together neatly and unexpectedly, though there were some descriptive passages in the middle that could have been eliminated or shortened.
For one thing, its narrative structure requires some attention from the reader. The action on which the narrator reflects takes place in the 1920's. The point of view shifts between the present and a moving index in the past, an index which inexorably creeps up on the disaster. Meanwhile we are given misleading hints and scraps of information about what will happen. Actually, the narrative is not so much like seeing one thing, then another. It is like watching a dithered image come up on your computer screen: first you get rough outlines, then the details are filled in, until finally all the pixels are filled in. But the last pixels are the important ones, in this case.
Most intelligent readers can handle that kind of variation from normal style, but some can't, and if you can't you should read something else. But that's not the main danger. Once the details are all filled in - on the last page - and you get a good look at the picture, you will not be happier for it. It will be sort of like one of Dore's engravings for Dante's "Inferno": a very well done picture of something horrible.
I am using the words "horror" and "horrible" in a very deliberate sense. I don't mean in the Stephen King sense of non-human ghouls and monsters. What I am associating with the word "horror" is a sense of inescapable disaster befalling people who don't deserve it, and for no reason that you will find at all compatible with the notion of a "fair universe".Read more ›
Chatham School Affair is the story of a young boy, Henry Griswald, the son of the head master of Chatham School. He is asked by his father to welcome the new art teacher and settle her into her new and desolate home on Black Pond. So far away from the town of Chatham, Elizabeth Channing must turn to her only neighbor for company, it is a shame that her neighbor is married. But that is only the beginning...
What occurs next could only be a product of Cook's wild imagination and again, only young Henry knows the truth. What happened out on Black Pond that would not only shake the school but the whole town of Chatham to it's core?
Pure suspense and thrills - Chatham School Affair is s great read and one that will certainly remain a favorite recommendation to all.
Most recent customer reviews
This sensitively written book is one of Thomas Cook's finest. He introduces not only the characters with a flourish - but embraces the entire surroundings of the community, thus,... Read morePublished on Nov. 26 2003 by Eileen S. Ruth
Thomas Cook appears to use a similar theme in many of his psychological mysteries: the conflict between passion/impulse and the need to do good for others and society. Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2002
I read the book, and enjoyed it very much, but I loved the whole ending better than the body of the book.Published on June 10 2002
Cook writes a ckassic five act trgedy with the bizarre twist in the fifth act that unravels the lives of everyone. Read morePublished on April 17 2002 by Charles Andrews
I loved this novel! The story and the characters were outstanding and the pace was pretty good. The plot revolves around a mystery that happened in the 1920's (book takes place in... Read morePublished on Jan. 24 2002 by Phillip Schoppy
My only complaint about the book is the simple story does not really seem to merit as many as 290+ pages the book contains. Read morePublished on Dec 15 2001 by xyz
The two star rating may be a bit unfair, because if I had read 'The Chatham School Affair' before I read 'Breakheart Hill' I probably would have liked it much more. Read morePublished on June 12 2001 by Andy Edie
Seven decades later, old Henry Griswald looks back on the defining experience of his life - the tragedy known to the people of his town as the Chatham School Affair. Read morePublished on May 26 2001 by bibliomane01
Perhaps I have become desensitized, but I found the novel to be misleading; Cook spends a great deal of time foreshadowing a tragic, haunting event that ends up seeming... Read morePublished on Sept. 21 2000 by Nick O.