GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS, by Joanne Harris

St. Oswald’s school in England is a public (in Britspeak that’s private) school with a long tradition of loyalty by its Old Boys and its faculty. Separated from the outside world by a stern No Trespassing sign, it lures nine year-old Julian Snyde, whose father is groundskeeper, who can’t resist the challenge. Years later, one of the longest-serving teachers, Roy Straitley, is beginning to think it’s time to retire. The new school year is proving to be more chaotic and challenging than usual. Thefts and class disruptions occur with startling frequency. The new teacher hires are a mixed bag, and one can't control his classes. The local newspaper has a secret correspondent within the school’s venerable halls. What is going on? Intricate, beautifully nuanced, full of unique characters (some of which you will positively loathe), this mystery will hold you until the last page. A 5, and quite a departure from Chocolat.