The Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. CookThe Chatham School Affair by Thomas H. Cook

The Chatham School Affair

byThomas H. Cook

Mass Market Paperback | October 1, 1997

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 50 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


Attorney Henry Griswald has a secret: the truth behind the tragic events the world knew as the Chatham School Affair, the controversial tragedy that destroyed five lives, shattered a quiet community, and forever scarred the young boy. Layer by layer, in The Chatham School Affair, Cook paints a stunning portrait of a woman, a school, and a town in which passionate violence seems impossible...and inevitable. "Thomas Cook's night visions, seen through a lens darkly, are haunting," raved the New York Times Book Review, and The Chatham School Affair will cement this superb writer's position as one of crime fiction's most prodigious talents, a master of the unexpected ending.
Thomas H. Cook is the author of many novels, including The Chatham School Affair, winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel; Instruments of Night; Breakheart Hill; Mortal Memory; Sacrificial Ground and Blood Innocents, both Edgar Award nominees; and two early works about true crimes, Early Graves and Blood Echoes, which was also nominat...
Title:The Chatham School AffairFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:336 pages, 6.9 × 4.2 × 0.9 inPublished:October 1, 1997Publisher:Random House Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0553571931

ISBN - 13:9780553571936

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Many Faceted This is a book that I have thought about over and over long after I have finished reading it. A young teacher comes to a small New England town to teach in a boys school. Her outlook on life is so different that she soon enthralls the headmaster''s son, Henry. He observes her affair with another teacher and tries to be a confident and ally. But soon things turn bad and the tragedy that ensues precludes a surprise ending that changes everyone and everything for Henry. Told in flashbacks this novel is the story of how radical people are like a stone thrown in a pond, but beware the tidal wave if the stone is too big!
Date published: 2013-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Wonderful Affair 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.
Date published: 2008-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprising and beautifully written mystery... I read my first Thomas H. Cook last year when I discovered, by accident, Breakheart Hill. I really liked that book; I really liked The Chatham School Affair more. I am not a mystery connoisseur by any stretch, although I admit that I've read a fair amount of suspense thrillers in my day. Cook belongs in another category altogether- sort of in the same way that King belongs in his own special category (and I mean that as a compliment because at the top of his game, there's no one better than King.) The Chatham School Affair is a richly realized mystery which unfolds as the book's narrator, an elderly lawyer named Henry Griswald, recalls the events which transpired the year he was 15. In 1926, Henry is a student at Chatham School where his father is the director. He's an intelligent boy, given to daydreaming and reading rather than socializing with his peers. The arrival of the new art teacher, the beautiful and well-traveled Elizabeth Channing upends Henry's world in ways impossible to relate without revealing important plot points. Suffice to say that this book is a wonderful examination of love found and lost, of regret and honour, of sacrifice. It's also a great mystery with a kick-ass ending. The Chatham School Affair is not told at breakneck speed: the reader is expected to spend a little time with the characters...but it's worth it. Cook's writing is often lyrical - not all that common in 'crime fiction.' In fact, I have a hard time with that label. Henry is a wonderful narrator, sympathetic even, but what I admired most of all about this book is how Cook walked that wonderful tightrope- never vilifying any character, allowing each of them their motivations and mistakes, their dreams and, ultimately, their fates. Two thumbs up.
Date published: 2008-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tragic I really liked how Cook wrote this story. I felt I knew the places he described and the people as well. I had a hard time putting this book down, because I wanted to know the truth behind the Chatham School Affair.
Date published: 2004-11-24

From Our Editors

From the author of "Breakheart Hill" and "Mortal Memory" comes an Edgar Award-winning tale of betrayal and passion. Destined to cement Cook's reputation as one of crime fiction's most exciting talents, this novel delves into the Chatham School Affair, a firestorm of tragedy that destroyed five lives. Through vivid portraits of a woman, a school, and a town, readers visit a place where a passionate violence isn't only likely--it's unavoidable.