At my age I’m expected to know and be a fan of K M Peyton. I didn’t and therefore I wasn’t, but I think I can safely say that it’s looking likely that I will be. If you’re with me this far?
The serendipitous thing about wanting to read something by K M Peyton was finding I had one of her books already. How it ended up on my shelf, I don’t know. It’s not ex-school library. I must have once bought it in a charity shop and forgotten all about it.
I felt totally at home from the first page of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (is it representative of K M’s writing?), in that way when you arrive somewhere and find it’s where you always wanted to be. In this case a boys’ boarding school in the 1970s where a murder has just been committed…
It could almost be a traditional whodunnit, what with the by now old-fashioned setting of the privileged, where a corpse turns up one morning. But the story of the dead teacher is more than that. It’s also about teenage angst and hero worship, and very much about the gorgeous setting of this green and leafy school.
Jonathan Meredith is in the lower sixth, and an unwilling prefect, and he happens to have knowledge that the teacher might not have committed suicide as was first thought. But if it was murder, then the murderer has to be the person he least of all wants to be guilty.
And what if this knowledge might put him in danger?
I had two solutions in mind, and one of them turned out to be right. Satisfying, except you don’t want it to be like that.
There is also a bit of teen romance, as the school has a dozen token girls in the sixth form. It’s a real period piece, and I loved it and I want to read more. ‘Everyone’ else has already read everything by K M Peyton, or so it seems. I clearly grew up in the wrong country, but oh how I would have adored these at the right age!