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by Carol Goodman

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 2002
ISBN: 0-345-45088-4
Publisher: Ballantine

A woman returns to the boarding school where her roommates committed suicide 20 years earlier and faces a rash of new deaths: a gothic, unconvincing debut replete with incest, homoeroticism, and murder.

Jane Hudson, the recently divorced mother of a small daughter, has taken a job teaching Latin at Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks. Readers will be immediately struck by the manufactured logic of such a return, given Jane’s history. As a scholarship student, she had slavishly adored her roommate Lucy and Lucy’s brother Matt. So had Jane’s other roommate Deirdre. At the same time, the girls fell under the sway of their Latin teacher. Domina Chambers showed a marked and unnatural favoritism toward Lucy, whose mother had been her close friend until an untimely pregnancy during college. At the end of Jane’s senior year, Deirdre committed suicide, soon followed by Lucy and Matt, who drowned intertwined. Chambers was blamed as a bad influence and fired. Only Jane knew, or thought she knew, the real reasons for the suicides; she recorded her speculations in a private journal. Soon after her return to Heart Lake, incriminating pages of that long-lost journal start showing up, and it’s not long until Jane's favorite student ends up in the hospital after an apparent suicide attempt. Then another student turns up dead. While the school psychologist who throws blame upon Jane is a menacing presence from her first introduction, the police investigator turns out to be Lucy and Matt’s cousin, who had participated long ago in certain orgiastic rites with Jane and her friends. When Jane begins to put together the pieces of both sets of suicides, her own life is endangered even as romantic sparks kindle.

Trash, despite the highfalutin Latin and classic references—and not very sexy trash at that.