Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gentlemen & Players by Joanne Harris (4/5 Stars)

Set in all-boys school, St. Oswald’s, Gentlemen & Players is narrated by the school’s oldest and most beloved Classics professor, Roy Straightly, by the former caretaker’s child, and by a mysterious and nefarious troublemaker out to destroy St. Oswald’s. This malevolent narrator’s identity is kept secret until the staggering ending.

Roy Straightly loves the school and his students and hates to see tradition supplanted by more modern means of education such as the dreaded computer. A foreboding feeling permeates the air of St. Oswald’s as Mr. Straightly begins his 99th term at the school. To start with, Mr. Straightly has lost his office to the ever-invading German department; there are a slew of new teachers that don’t quite sit well with Mr. Straightly; and an odd series of mishaps and scandals begin to rip apart St. Oswald’s at the seams. Something sinister is happening at St. Oswald’s and Mr. Straightly must try to figure it out before his beloved institution is decimated by whatever evil forces are working against it.

Gentlemen & Players is a suspenseful mystery that will leave you shocked with it’s stunning resolution. Joanne Harris’ writing is deft and masterful. As a narrator, Mr. Straightly is intensely observant and immensely entertaining. This novel is steeped in academia and will be a sure hit amongst those who count Donna Tartt’s The Secret History as a favorite novel.

No comments: