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The Chatham School Affair Hardcover – Large Print, Sep 1997

4.1 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Large Print, Sep 1997
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: G K Hall & Co; Lrg edition (September 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0783882777
  • ISBN-13: 978-0783882772
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews
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Product Description

From Amazon

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Thomas H. Cook's "The Chatham School Affair" is a different type of read from the sort I usually tackle, and my first novel authored by Cook.

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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Let me start off with a warning: even though this book is very good, and well deserves its Edgar, perhaps reading it will not be the best thing for you.
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".
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you liked Breakheart Hill you will love The Chatham School Affair. This novel is the reason readers love Cook's well crafted thrillers. These mysteries are written more like novels with well timed twists and turns to keep the reader on their feet. Cook never allows the reader to be lulled into a sense of comfort for too long and his formula works well.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the summer of 1926, Miss Elizabeth Channing steps off the bus in Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, to teach art at the Chatham Boys School. She will be living in a small cottage outside of town on Black Pond, her only neighbor, a married, literature teacher, Leland Reed. So begins The Chatham School Affair, narrated by the headmaster's son, Henry Griswald. Henry takes the reader back to that year, in a spellbinding, moving story of the events that led, to what the townspeople will always call, the Chatham School affair. This is not just a suspense thriller or mystery novel, but a sensitive, compelling story of how the power of the spoken word, once said, can never be taken back or undone and can change, forever the course of many lives. With his eloquent writing and subtle plot twists, Mr. Cook keeps the reader off balance, always guessing and never quite sure, all the way to the climactic ending. His characters come alive on the page and his scenes are so riveting and vivid, they are sometimes painful to read. A stunning story of love, loss and betrayal. Thomas Cook deserved all the awards The Chatham School Affair won.
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