Congratulations to ONBC author Joanne Harris!

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Congratulations to ONBC author Joanne Harris!

Unread postby part-time poet » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:22 pm

I just saw some very good news . . . Joanne Harris, the author of CHOCOLAT, has been nominated for an Edgar Award :sherlockholmes: for Best Mystery Novel for her new book, GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS.

For those who are not familiar with the Edgar Awards, they are given by the Mystery Writers of America to honor the best mystery fiction and nonfiction written in the previous year, so the 2007 award honors work published in 2006. The awards were first given in 1954 and are named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe, who invented the genre of the detective story.

Congratulations to Joanne Harris--an Edgar nomination is a very great honor.

If you are looking for a good read, GENTLEMEN AND PLAYERS sounds fascinating, with that impeccable sense of place and true-to-life characters that we recognize from CHOCOLAT. Here's what Publishers Weekly says about the book: "Bestseller Harris (Holy Fools) exposes the brittle line dividing the haves and have-nots in this disturbing yet strangely rewarding morality tale set in the hallowed halls of St. Oswald's, an aristocratic British boys' school hovering on the edge of extinction. Audere, agere, auferre (To dare, to strive, to conquer), the school motto, is something young outsider Snyde, whose father has become St. Oswald's porter (or caretaker), takes painfully to heart after infiltrating the institution as a student under the alias "Julian Pinchbeck." Snyde's secret crush on Leon Mitchell, a charismatic upper-class boy, leads to tragic consequences that include the senior Snyde's losing his job. Fifteen years later, Snyde returns, masquerading as a teacher and plotting retribution. Classics teacher Roy Straitley, with his easygoing, ruefully resigned viewpoint, nicely contrasts with Snyde's relentless first-person intensity. Straitley, who loves St. Oswald's, unwittingly proves to be a formidable opponent and provides Snyde with a vital lesson: not every chess game ends with checkmate."

Here's the description from Amazon reviewer David Straight--I think he adds some very helpful background:

"First of all, for the cricket-ignorant, up until WW II in
English first-class cricket, the people who played the game
were classified as "gentlemen"--those who played the game
without pay--and "players"--the paid professionals. In the
box-score, a gentleman would appear as Mr Smith, and a
professional would appear as Jones. Separate dessing-rooms
were provided for the two groups. There was an annual match
Gentlemen vs Players. It was very rare that a team captain
would be a player: there was a significant gulf between the
leisure class and the working class.

The novel is about the child of the working-class man who did
the janitorial chores at St Oswald's School, an expensive
day school for sons of privilege. The child, now grown up,
forges documents to join the school as a new faculty member,
with the intention of destroying the institution from within.
So small unpleasant things begin to happen--and things get
worse with thefts and scandals. It's a game--but only the
player knows it--the gentlemen (which includes female faculty)
are puzzled and disconcerted. The other central figure is Roy
Straitley, classics master, now in his 34th year at St Oswald's.
Straitley is Old School, computer-ignorant, but shrewd enough
to finally realize that there is a game going on. The gentlemen
are accustomed to interacting with gentlemen (faculty and
students) at the school--they are at a great disadvantage
against a working-class person who doesn't play by the rules.

The sense of dichotomy is wonderfully drawn here--those of
privilege, and those who are not. There are fine lines of
snobbery. Gentlemen & Players has similar layers--depths and
nuances. An excellent read!"

If you love mysteries, this sounds like a great one. Only 5 novels receive Edgar nominations as best of the year, so Ms. Harris is in a very select company. Cheers to Joanne Harris!


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Unread postby Liz » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:42 pm

Cheers to Joanne, indeed. :toastingpirates:

I'd better add that one to my ever growing list.

Thanks, Part-time Poet, for the info.
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The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

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Unread postby Endora » Fri Feb 23, 2007 1:49 pm

I'd recommend Gentlemen and Players. A very clever plot.
Work hard, learn well, and make peace with the fact that you'll never be as cool as Johnny Depp. GQ.

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Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:27 pm

What great news! :bounce: Congratulations to Joanne! The book looks very interesting, thanks for posting the news ptp and thanks for the recommendation, Endora! :cool:
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Unread postby fansmom » Sun Feb 25, 2007 3:44 pm

Endora wrote:I'd recommend Gentlemen and Players. A very clever plot.
I'll agree, Endora. I like it best of the four or five books of hers I've read.

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