Chatham School Affair (Cook)

Discussion Questions
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Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for The Chatham School Affair:

1. What is it about Elizabeth Channing that makes her so attractive to men, young and mature? Is she intentionally provocative? What is the ethos by which she lives her life?

2. Why is Leland Reed dissatisfied with his life? What does he long for? What is the attraction between Elizabeth and him? Does their romance feel real to you?

3. Describe the town of Chatham, Massachusetts, and its people? Why does young Henry Griswald perceive it as repressive? Is he correct?

4. Do you feel the characters "deserve" the ending they get at the book's conclusion?

5. Then there's Henry Griswald. How do the events of the story affect or change him? What is his secret and why has he kept it all these years? Why did Henry return to Chatham given the tragedy that took place there and the fact that he had resented the town as a child?

6. What about the pace of the story? Some reviewers felt it was maddeningly slow; others were captivated, driven to continue reading. How did the pace strike you?

7. Cook uses "foreshadowing"—a writer's technique in which authors give hints, sometimes through parallel occurrences, of events that will happen later. Can you point to any of the foreshadowing Cook uses?

8. What emotions did you experience while reading The Chatham School Affair? Were you unsettled, anxious ... or not? Some critics spoke of an impending sense of doom? If you felt it also, how does Cook create that atmosphere, or mood?

9. Were you intrigued by the twists and turns the plot took? Were you surprised by the ending ... or did you find it predictable? In all, does the book deliver?

10. Would you classify this as a standard mystery novel? Or is it something else? How does it compare to other crime/ detective stories you've read?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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