Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?: A Mystery in Poems

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 ...

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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)

Free verse poems describe the reactions of students, colleagues, and others when a high school teacher is shot to death as the school day begins.

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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
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Using what PW called Spoon Riveresque storytelling, this diverse collection of free verse cleverly embraces varied narratives to describe the aftermath of a high school teachers murder. Ages 10-14. (Apr.)
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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140385137
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/1999
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 275,815
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.42 (w) x 7.20 (h) x 0.26 (d)

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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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 17, 2010

    A vexing story

    Who Killed Mr. Chippendale is a mystery about a high school teacher named Mr. Chippendale, and his sudden murder. This story is different from many others, it is a story told only in poems, though not all of them rhyme, it is still a very fascinating book. This entire book is dialogue; there are only a couple of pages that are told in the third person. This makes it the perfect blend of comedy, drama, and suspense.
    With Mr. Chippendales' murder, he leaves behind a lot of sad, angry people, and questions not yet answered. This story takes place in a school called Tower High, in the USA. Throughout the story there are people coming to Ms. Falcon (the school counselor) to talk about their experiences with Mr. Chippendale, although not all of them are good, there are some statements by people that make you certain they are the killer. The statements from different students, teachers, and people in the community really give you a sense of what kind of person he was, even without a blatant description. The murderer leaves some statements, and even some unsigned letters to Ms. Falcon, but the real murderer is someone whom you could never guess. The end will leave you with a puzzled look on your face. This book is truly original; there is nothing else like it.
    I think this book is perfect for anyone ten and up (there is some bad language). I really enjoyed reading it; it had a lot of character, and personality.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2008

    Callousness and Compassion

    'Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?' gives readers a taste of the relationships and animosities that create context for actions and reactions within our lives. As you read, a picture is slowly pieced together through each person's perspective: not only of the murderer, but of ourselves, as human beings. At the story's conclusion. I feel as if a weight rests on my heart: the murderer has been apprehended, but the issues glimpsed in each life are unresolved unfixed, but amet with bleak acceptance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2005

    Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?

    It¿s just a regular day at a regular high school. Until it all changes by a huge tragedy. Mr. Chippendale, or also referred to as the coolest teacher around, is shot point blank in the head while taking his morning jog around the school track. Who would do such a thing to such a good person? Find out what goes on in different high schools and the things that can happen. If you like poems written into a book of mysteries then read ¿Who killed Mr. Chippendale?¿

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2005

    Good book

    I enjoyed reading Who Killed Mr. Chippendale by Mel Glenn. The story was a mystery. I normally don¿t read mysteries but this one caught my attention. The whole book was in poems. There was a page for each person in the school telling a little about themselves and telling if he or she is a suspect. The ending to this book wasn¿t the best. I wish there would have been a little more excitement at the end, but never the less it was a good book. The length of this book was perfect too; if it would have been any longer it would have gotten boring. Some parts dragged on and weren¿t important. I liked Who Killed Mr. Chippendale and hope to read more books by Mel Glenn. I recommend people who like poems or mysteries to read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2003

    Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?: A Mystery in Poems

    I really like the way this book is written in poems, because it gives me, being the slow reader that I am, a chance to stop and understand what just went on. The paragraphs are just to log in the books I have read in the past. I also like how they let every one state there one opinion in there own poem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2003

    Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?: A Mystery in Poems

    at the begining of this book the english teacher Mr. chippendale is taking his morning jog when all of sudden a student hears a gun shot and looks out the window to see Mr. Chippendale lying on the track DEAD. pretty much, the rest of the book is of the reporters and the police interveiwing students, family, and friends. To me the killer came as a surprise. The only thing weird about this book is that it's all a poem and a new person is on every page. On only a couple pages does the story go longer than one page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2002

    Who Killed Mr. Chippendale?: A Mystery in Poems

    They are trying to find out who killed the teacher which his name was Mr. Chippendale. They just go around the naborhood to see who knew him and if he was a good person.I don't like this book that much beacuse most of the people hated him when all he was doing was encourging them to do beter.

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