Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Mel Glenn

Age Range: 11 - 15

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-525-67530-2
Publisher: Dutton

 A respected teacher's murder on school grounds sparks a series of free-verse reveries and comments from a large cast of students, colleagues, police officers, and members of the local community in this unusual, provocatively oblique whodunit, subtitled ``A Mystery in Poems.'' As in Glenn's most recent collection, My Friend's Got This Problem, Mr. Candler (1991), voices, attitudes, and concerns are realistically varied: Youthful optimism alternates with fear or disillusionment, pre-packaged opinions with thoughtful observations, anguish with disinterest. Chippendale is remembered largely with affection, a competent teacher who, every now and then, made a difference, sometimes to the good (Celia Campbell) and sometimes bad (Delia Campbell). The contributors/suspects include Angela, a counselor who fell in love with Chippendale years ago; Leah, a teenager who claims she had a fling with him (but whose veracity is suspect); and violence-prone, emotionally numb Mike, who, despite enough circumstantial evidence by the end to arrest and convict him, never admits much. He's a chilling character--but is he guilty? And what about Leah's admission? Does anyone get the whole story? Let readers decide, as they appreciate the multiple ironies here, search for clues, and look for echoes of their own peers and teachers in these vignettes. (Fiction/poetry. 11-15)