Friday, August 2, 2013
The Chatham School Affair
This is the story of a young man's view of a situation that occurred at his private high school in 1926-1927. It is not so much a mystery as a story of lives colliding and the tragedy left in the wake of passion. Henry Grizwald is a high school student at Chatham School, founded by his father in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts. He lives at home with his parents and feels on the outside at school as his father is the headmaster of Chatham School. The arrival of a new young art teacher, Elizabeth Channing, changes the lives of many in the small coastal town. Elizabeth is an exotic young woman as she spent her youth traveling the world with her father after the death of her mother. Along with art, she teaches her students about the world outside the Cape. She also attracts the notice of the math teacher, Mr. Reed. Mr Reed has traveled the world thanks to WW1 and comes home with the scars of the war. He also comes home to his wife and their young daughter. The Reeds live just across Black Pond from Elizabeth's home so it is decided that Mr Reed will drive Miss Channing to work at school each day. Henry becomes friends with Miss Channing and Mr Reed. He sees them as a very romantic duo who should just be allowed to be together. Henry's mother is appalled that her son would think such a thing when Mr Reed has a wife and child who need him. Henry continues his friendship with the duo during the school year. But even Henry is unprepared for the tragedy that turns the town upside down and puts Miss Channing on trial with Henry as a witness for the prosecution.
Henry goes from being a romantic to a cynic by the end of the story, choosing to live his life alone, practicing law in his hometown.
I will read more stories by Mr Cook but this will not be my favorite by any means.