Gentlemen & Players
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Gentlemen & Players: 06/28/06

Gentlemen &  Players

Last night I finished reading Joanne Harris's newest novel Gentlemen & Players. I have to admit that I almost gave up on the book as the first 50 pages confused and to some degree bored me. Usually I would have given up but there was something lingering in the book that made me try one more chapter. I'm glad I did; by page 64 the book picks up and a book I was avoiding reading, I was now making time to read!

Here is my BookCrossing review:

If I had track the moves in the book like a chess game, I would have guessed the murderer's identity. In all honesty, I'm glad I didn't because I enjoyed the final confrontation all the more. The book like many chess games starts out ponderous. The pieces are set up and the characters introduced. Pay attention to Staitley's description of his colleagues. It is the only time they will all be presented at once. From there the play flips between the black and white pieces, black represented by Staitley and the white by the murderer.

To confuse things further, there is a replay of a previous game, a series of events over the course of an academic year where the murderer falls in love with the school. It is the love of the school that motivates the murderer to plot and scheme. At first these flash backs seem confusing but they do help to develop the murderer as a character and begin to play out almost as a juvenile Mr. Ripley plot.

Up until the ending of the book, I was thinking of writing my review strictly in terms of the Mr. Ripley books by Patricia Highsmith in that they both deal young characters who resort to crime (and murder) to protect their newly created identities newly found acceptance among the upper class. Harris's protagonist murderer, though, seems to have more motivation than just protection of a new lifestyle but I dare not write more as I'll probably spoil the ending. Go read the book and enjoy it!

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