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Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?: A Mystery in Poems
     

Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?: A Mystery in Poems

by Mel Glenn
 

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Nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America

An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults

Award-winning author and poet Mel Glenn presents a unique mystery told through a series of free verse poems.

When popular Tower High English teacher Mr. Chippendale is fatally shot, everyone is a suspect. The killer could be

Overview

Nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award of the Mystery Writers of America

An ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults

Award-winning author and poet Mel Glenn presents a unique mystery told through a series of free verse poems.

When popular Tower High English teacher Mr. Chippendale is fatally shot, everyone is a suspect. The killer could be anyone—one of his students, a colleague, or even an ex-flame. The aftermath of Mr. Chippendale’s murder is a suspenseful story that will keep readers guessing who the killer is right until the last page.

* "More than a whodunit, this unique offering explores a multitude of issues in its pages."School Library Journal (starred review)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Glenn's (Class Dismissed) diverse collection of free verse describes the aftermath of the murder of an English teacher at Tower High School. Focusing on the feelings and opinions of the characters more than on suspense or action, the text cleverly embraces varied narrativesa press memo, a police interview, a letter from the Board of Educationbut consists mainly of the dramatic monologues of students and staff at the school. "I hope his soul goes straight to heaven./ What that man did for me,/ .../ He made feel smarter than I am," says one; "I hope his soul goes straight to hell,/ What that man did for me,/ .../ He made me feel stupider than I am," says that student's twin. The girl who had a crush on Chippendale, the students he encouraged or flunked, the guidance counselor who loved himall are represented in one-page poems. Clues and red herrings drop somewhat obviously, and the killer is apprehended in one of the final poems. While the format allows Glenn license to experiment with different voices, the verse seems like a plain-spoken prose text divided up arbitrarily into line lengths to resemble poetry. The language is gritty and colloquial, but the characters aren't individuals so much as types. However, YA readers who share Glenn's taste for heavy irony might enjoy the Spoon River-esque storytelling. Ages 12-up. (June) Nonfiction
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
This book is riveting and unique. Mr. Chippendale is killed while jogging on the high school track. We learn about him from his colleagues, students, and friends. Each entry is told in free verse. A composite picture of this man is formed from the points of view of those who knew him and even those who knew only his name. Makes you wonder how any of us will be remembered. Don't miss this!
School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpHigh school English teacher Robert Chippendale is shot and killed one morning while running on the Tower High track before class. Moments earlier, he'd had a confrontation with a shadowy figure in a red-hooded sweatshirt. That's all readers learn early on in this mystery in poem format. But more than a whodunit, this unique offering explores a multitude of issues in its pages. Single-page conversational poems are presented, each of which bears the name of a different student, teacher, or community member touched by the murder. Not only do the poems clue readers into the characters' personalities and sensibilities, but they also provide a telling commentary on the attitudes toward violence reflected in our society at large. The cast is large, ranging from students who loved or hated "Mr. C" to guidance counselor Angela Falcone, who ties the book together. An epilogue takes readers 13 years into the future to show what the characters, including the murderer, are doing with their lives. Glenn delivers a starkly realistic view of modern high-school life. A clever idea, executed in a thoughtful, compelling, and thoroughly accessible manner.Sharon Korbeck, Waupaca Area Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140385137
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
04/28/1999
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
498,579
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
10 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Mel Glenn grew up in Brooklyn, New York and has been teaching English for twenty-seven years at his alma mater, Lincoln High School. He has won many awards for his writing and is the author of six books of poetry and three novels for young adults. He and his wife, Elyse, live in Brooklyn with their two sons, Jonathan and Andrew.

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