Thursday, September 10, 2015

THE GROWN-UP SCHOOL STORY LIST (updated 5/15/2016)

(Note: This is now the most up-to-date version of this list. I did a separate post in December 2015 discussing the first update I did, and giving proper acknowledgement to all the suggestions I'd received, many from the comments below. You can read that post here. Please do continue to alert me to any other books that belong on this list!)

I've been talking about this list for a while now, and continuing to agonize about it and brainstorm all the titles I could think of, but I think it's time for me to release it into the wild. Undoubtedly, it still has some glaring omissions, and probably many more that are less glaring, but I will trust those of you interested in the genre to help me out with your suggestions, as always.

As I think I mentioned already, I first became interested in novels set in schools but written for adults rather than for school-age readers after devouring and adoring Mary Bell's wonderful Summer's Day (which is probably also to blame—or to credit—for getting me started on school stories written for young girls, but that's a separate story). School settings are compelling, I think, because (among other reasons) they are, as others have described them, "closed societies," with their own prescribed rules and unique cultures, as well as with limited interaction—at least during term—with the outside world. There are other kinds of closed societies, of course, such as convents and monasteries, but for this list my particular interest is in school settings. Also, I should add that, although universities are perhaps a bit less "closed" than other schools, I decided that they were related enough to be of interest here.

Well, that's about the extent of any profound thoughts I have on the genre as a whole. But undoubtedly I'll be continuing to read more of the titles listed in the coming months, so perhaps profundity will appear then...

A little explanation: Since this is a book list, rather than an author list, I decided I would relax the usual boundaries of my blog and my lists just a bit. Therefore, I am including some titles written in the decade or two following the usual cutoff of my lists, and I am including some from other, non-British, English-speaking nations.

One of the first editions of Olivia to
use Dorothy Strachey's real name

The date of each title, and, to the best of my ability, the type of school setting featured in each novel, are shown as well. I say "to the best of my ability" because it can be challenging for an American to grasp the appropriate terms to describe the various types of British schools. (Honestly, even with American schools, I confess I've never known for sure what a "prep school" is. Obviously, I never attended one.) In cases where a review or description has specified the type of school, I've followed that lead, but in some cases I've had to use my own judgment, which on this topic is poor at best. So if there are any shamefully blatant errors on that level, do let me know. For those novels which are non-British, along with the type of school I am including the country of origin or setting. If no setting is noted, then the book is, at least as far as I know, British. I've tried to limit other commentary to keep the list as short and functional as possible, but I've made some brief notes where I thought clarification might be helpful.

Of the most recognizable titles with school settings, by far the largest number are mysteries—how many people have heard of 
The First Rebellion or Educating Elizabeth as opposed to Gaudy Night or Miss Pym Disposes?—and since closed society mysteries are particularly entertaining, of course I had to include them here. But to avoid swamping those titles which aren't mysteries, I've divided mysteries and non-mysteries into sub-lists. And since I was doing sub-lists anyway, I decided I might just as well stretch the usual boundaries of my blog by including a sub-list of school mysteries by men too.

I flirted with the idea of a list of non-mysteries by men as well, and there are certainly plenty of them, but ultimately I decided that I hadn't sufficient knowledge to come up with much more than the obvious selections—Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye or John Knowles' A Separate Peace for American prep school settings, F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise for an American university setting, and fairly obvious British choices like James Hilton's Goodbye Mr. Chips, Evelyn Waugh's Decline and Fall, and R. F. Delderfield's To Serve Them All My Days. I was frankly too lazy to do the research that would have been needed to get me beyond such obvious choices. I admit it. I did, however, just stumble across The Passion-Flower Hotel (1962), by Rosalind Erskine (a man, though initially marketed as if by a schoolgirl author), which I have to mention because, honestly, when will I ever have another chance to describe a book as being about a girls' boarding school at which the girls open a brothel for the local boys' school? Beyond that, though, you're on your own with schoolish mainstream novels by men, I'm afraid.

Of course, there are any number of novels that include some school components without really qualifying for this list. Novels as widely varied as Margaret Kennedy's The Constant Nymph, Winifred Holtby's South Riding, D. E. Stevenson's Charlotte Fairlie (aka Blow the Wind Southerly), and Angela Thirkell's The Headmistress all feature school-related scenes or concerns, but in none of them, I felt, is school really a primary focus. I flirted with including Barbara Pym, whose work includes several novels set on the fringes of academia, but certainly school is not the focus of these either. And although Ursula Orange's Begin Again is, in a way, very much about Oxford, following several women graduates into their post-university life, it doesn't actually take place there and so I reluctantly had to leave it out (ditto Joanna Cannan's The Misty Valley, also about an Oxford graduate). But of course my selection process is subjective, so let me know if you think I've gone awry.

I have to acknowledge two sources in particular for this list, apart from my own reading and poking around. Sue Sims and Hilary Clare, in their wonderful Encyclopaedia of Girls' School Stories, have an appendix devoted to school stories for adults, which provided me with several titles I hadn't run across before. And I also found an article here devoted to academic mysteries, which added several more and offers some interesting insights into the theme.

Sims and Clare also, in their enormous catalogue of school stories for girls, include several more titles which they note might be intended as much for adults as for children. These include Lesley Garth's Sixteen or So (1923), Lucy Kinloch's A World Within a School (1937), D. R. Mack's Betty Brooke at School: A Tale for Girls and Old Girls (1910), Daphne Stanford's June Harcourt (1940), and Alice Chesterton's Whittenbury College (1915) and Christal's Adventure (1919). For now, I have left these off of the list below, assuming that Sims and Clare made their decision to include them as works for girls and not in their appendix devoted to school stories for adults for good reasons. But if anyone has read any of these books and feel that they definitely were written for adults or could be read as such without too greatly blurring the boundaries of my list, let me know.

Even with my relaxed time frame, I cut off the list around the late 1970s, but I did find a handful of particularly relevant or interesting titles published after that time, and so I added another short sub-list at the end to accommodate those. (Of course, the time frame means I have to also cut a somewhat well-known series of novels set in a coed wizard school, which are arguably as much for adults as for children.) And, one final disclaimer, I've also allowed a handful of relevant memoirs to creep in, since some readers may find them of interest. I've noted that clearly after the titles.

Please let me know about any omissions you notice from this list, and since there are quite a few titles on the list about which I know precious little (the presence of a book on this list should not suggest a recommendation of it, of course!), feel free to fill in gaps in my knowledge of books that are on the list as well.

I hope you discover some new books to enjoy!


RUTH ADAM, I'm Not Complaining (1938)

Depression-era primary school.

MABEL ESTHER ALLAN, Here We Go Round (1954)

Primary school. Recently reprinted by Girls Gone By.

VERILY ANDERSON, Daughters of Divinity (1960)

Memoir. Girls' boarding school.


New Zealand. Primary school.

MARY BELL, Summer's Day (1951)

Girls' boarding school.

FRANCES BELLERBY, Shadowy Bricks (1932)

Progressive school.

WINIFRED BLAZEY, Grace Before Meat (1942)

Village school.

EDWARD CANDY, Parents' Day (1967)

Coed boarding school.

ELIZABETH CARFRAE, Good Morning, Miss Morrison (1948)

Girls' school.

HESTER W. CHAPMAN, Long Division (1943)

Boys' prep school.

HESTER W. CHAPMAN, Ever Thine (1951)

Boys' prep school.

IVY COMPTON-BURNETT, More Women than Men (1933)

Girls' boarding school.

ELIZABETH COXHEAD, A Play Toward (1952)

Village primary school.

CLEMENCE DANE, Regiment of Women (1917)

Girls' boarding school.

ANNA DE BARY, Letters of a Schoolma'am (1913)

Possibly non-fiction? Uncertain of type of school.

VERA G. DWYER, A War of Girls (1915)

Australian. Uncertain of type of school.

HELEN FOLEY, A Handful of Time (1961)

Set before and after WWII in and around Cambridge.

MENNA GALLIE, Man's Desiring (1960)

University. "Comedy of contrasts about a Welsh man and an English woman at a Midlands university."

KATHLEEN GIBBERD, Vain Adventure (1927)

Set partly at Oxford.

RUTH M. GOLDRING, Ann's Year (1933)

University. "[A] story combining school and business life in its period."

RUTH M. GOLDRING, Educating Joanna (1935)


HELEN HAMILTON, The Iconoclast (1917)

About a schoolteacher's romance. Uncertain of type of school.

MARGARET HASSETT, Educating Elizabeth (1937)

Girls' boarding school.

MARGARET HASSETT, Beezer's End (1949)

Girls' boarding school. Sequel to Educating Elizabeth.

RENÉE HAYNES, Neapolitan Ice (1932)


ROSE MARIE HODGSON, Rosy-Fingered Dawn (1934)

University. Described by Anna Bogen as an "experimental university novel."

ELIZABETH JENKINS, Young Enthusiasts (1947)

Progressive school.

PAMELA HANSFORD JOHNSON, The Honours Board (1970)

Boys' prep school. ODNB said, "set in the enclosed world of the teaching staff of a boys' preparatory school."

PRISCILLA JOHNSTON, The Narrow World (1930)

Girls' boarding school.


Girls' boarding school. Sequel to The Narrow World (?).

BEL KAUFMAN, Up the Down Staircase (1965)

American. Inner city high school.

ANNA GORDON KEOWN, Mr. Thompson in the Attic (1933)

Boys' prep school. Humorous tale of eccentric headmaster at South Coast prep school.

ELIZABETH LAKE, The First Rebellion (1952)

Girls' convent boarding school.

MADELEINE L'ENGLE, A Small Rain (1945)

American. First section set in Swiss boarding school.

JOAN LINDSAY, Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967)

Australia. Women's college.

CHRISTINE LONGFORD, Making Conversation (1931)

Part girls' boarding school, part Oxford.

LILIAN VAUX MACKINNON, Miriam of Queen's (1921)

Canada. University. Set around the turn of the century at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. See Brian Busby's review here.

ROSEMARY MANNING, The Chinese Garden (1962)

Girls' boarding school.

MARGARET MASTERMAN, Gentleman's Daughters (1931)

Girls' school.

MARY NICHOLSON, Itself to Please (1953)

University. Set at Oxford in the 1930s.

KATE O'BRIEN, The Land of Spices (1941)

Girls' convent boarding school.

FRANCES GRAY PATTON, Good Morning, Miss Dove (1954)

American. Small town grammar school.

WINIFRED PECK, Winding Ways (1951)

Girls' boarding school.

SUSAN PLEYDELL, Summer Term (1959)

Boys' boarding school.

SUSAN PLEYDELL, A Young Man's Fancy (1962)

Boys' boarding school. Sequel to Summer Term.

LALAGE PULVERTAFT, Golden October (1965)

Boys' boarding school (?).

HENRY HANDEL RICHARDSON, The Getting of Wisdom (1910)

Australian. Girls' boarding school.

DORA SAINT (aka MISS READ), Village School (1955)

Village school. Also, numerous sequels with connections to the school.

ELEANOR SCOTT, War Among Ladies (1928)

Girls' high school.

BARBARA SILVER, Our Young Barbarians, or, Letters from Oxford (1935)

University. Review describes "faithful chronicling of a fairly ordinary routine."

MAY SMITH, These Wonderful Rumours!: A Young Schoolteacher's Wartime Diaries 1939-1945 (2012)

Diary. Elementary school.

MARTHA SOUTH, Apology of a Mercenary (1933)

Elementary school. Sounds like a rather dark tale of "the difficulties, the hopes and disappointments in the life of an elementary school teacher."

MURIEL SPARK, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)

Girls' boarding school.

D. E. STEVENSON, Summerhills (1956)

In part about setting up a boys' school.

DOROTHY STRACHEY (aka OLIVIA), Olivia (1949)

Girls' boarding school in France.

MARY STURT, Be Gentle to the Young (1937)


NETTA SYRETT, A School Year (1902)




ANGELA THIRKELL, Summer Half (1937)

Boys' boarding school.

ANNE TRENEER, A Stranger in the Midlands (1952)

Memoir. Girls' high school in Birmingham.

GLADYS VENNING, A Matron Remembers: Reminiscences of School Life over Forty-Five Years (1985)

Memoir. Primary school.

ROSALIND WADE, Children Be Happy (1931)


ANTONIA WHITE, Frost in May (1933)

Girls' convent school.

MARY WILKES, The Only Door Out (1945)


D[OROTHY]. WYNNE WILLSON, Early Closing (1931)

Boys' boarding school.


LOIS AUSTEN-LEIGH, The Incredible Crime (1931)

University. "[A] witty take on academic life in Cambridge." (Soon to be reprinted by British Library Crime Classics.)

JOSEPHINE BELL, The Summer School Mystery

Summer school for music students.

JOSEPHINE BELL, Death at Half Term (1939)

Boys' boarding school.

CLARA BENSON, The Trouble at Wakeley Court (published 2015, written 1930s?)

Girls' boarding school.

DOROTHY BOWERS, Fear and Miss Betony (1941)

Wartime girls' boarding school.

JANET CAIRD, Murder Scholastic (1967)

Scottish secondary school.

AGATHA CHRISTIE, Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)

Girls' boarding school.

EILEEN HELEN CLEMENTS, Cherry Harvest (1943)

Wartime girls' boarding school evacuated to a country manor house.

AMANDA CROSS, The Theban Mysteries (1971)

American girls' school.

ANTONIA FRASER, Quiet as a Nun (1977)

Girls' convent school.

MAVIS DORIEL HAY, Death on the Cherwell (1935)


P. D. JAMES, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972)

Cambridge. Only somewhat college-related.

ELIZABETH LEMARCHAND, Death of an Old Girl (1967)

Girls' boarding school.

ELIZABETH LEMARCHAND, The Affacombe Affair (1968)

Girls' prep school.

HELEN MCCLOY, Through a Glass Darkly (1949)

American. Girls' boarding school.

GLADYS MITCHELL, Death at the Opera (1934)

Coed day school.

GLADYS MITCHELL, St. Peter's Finger (1938)

Girls' convent boarding school.

GLADYS MITCHELL, Laurels Are Poison (1942)

Girls' training college.

GLADYS MITCHELL, Tom Brown’s Body (1949)

Boys' boarding school.

GLADYS MITCHELL, Convent on Styx (1975)

Girls' convent boarding school.

DOROTHY L. SAYERS, Gaudy Night (1935)


NANCY SPAIN, Poison for Teacher (1949)

Girls' boarding school.

JOSEPHINE TEY, Miss Pym Disposes (1946)

Girls' physical training college.

ETHEL LINA WHITE, The Third Eye (1937)

First part set in girls' boarding school.

JUNE WRIGHT, Faculty of Murder (1961)

Australian. Girls' hostel at University of Melbourne.

MARGARET YORKE, series featuring Patrick Grant (1980s)



NICHOLAS BLAKE, A Question of Proof (1935)

Boys' boarding school.

LEO BRUCE, Carolus Deene series

Boys' boarding school.

W. J. BURLEY, A Taste of Power (1967)

Grammar school.

MILES BURTON, Murder in the Coalhole (1940)

Grammar school (but no students appear).

MILES BURTON, Murder Out of School (1951)

Boys' prep school.

CHRISTOPHER BUSH, The Case of the Dead Shepherd (1934)

Coed high school.

V. C. CLINTON-BADDELEY, Dr. Davie series


EDMUND CRISPIN, Gervase Fen series


GLYNN DANIEL, The Cambridge Murders (1945)

Cambridge (obviously).

S. F. X. DEAN, Professor Kelly series

University. New England college.

D. DEVINE, His Own Appointed Day (1965)

Scottish high school.

MICHAEL GILBERT, The Night of the Twelfth (1976)

Boys' school.

D. DEVINE, His Own Appointed Day (1965)

Scottish high school.

MICHAEL GILBERT, The Night of the Twelfth (1976)

Boys' school.

REGINALD HILL, An Advancement of Learning (1971)


JAMES HILTON, Murder at School (1931)

Boys' boarding school. (Author of Lost Horizon.)

JOHN LE CARRÉ, A Murder of Quality (1962)

Boys' boarding school.

NORMAN LONGMATE, A Head for Death (1958)

Boys' school? Coed?

J. C. MASTERMAN, An Oxford Tragedy (1933)


KENNETH MILLAR (aka ROSS MACDONALD), The Dark Tunnel (1944)

American. University. See Brian Busby's review here.

SIMON OKE, The Hippopotamus Takes Wing (1952)

Convent school.

STUART PALMER, Hildegarde Withers series

Withers is a schoolteacher, but books feature few scenes in school

Q PATRICK, Death Goes to School (1936)

Boys' school.

IVAN ROSS, Teacher's Blood (1964)

American high school.

ERIC SHEPHERD, Murder in a Nunnery (1940)

Convent school.

ERIC SHEPHERD, More Murder in a Nunnery (1954)

Convent school.


EVE BUNTING, Spying on Miss Muller (1995)

General fiction/thriller. Belfast girls' boarding school during WWII.

SARAH CAUDWELL, Hilary Tamar series (1980s)

Mystery. Law school

PAMELA DEAN, Tam Lin (1991)

Fantasy. University. Combines a young woman's life at college with a retelling of the traditional Scottish fairy ballad "Tam Lin".

RUTH DUDLEY EDWARDS, Matricide at St. Martha's (1994)

Mystery. Cambridge. One of Edwards' Robert Amiss mysteries, this time in a university setting.

BETH GUTCHEON, The New Girls (1979)

General fiction. American girls' prep school in the 1960s.

JOANNE HARRIS, Gentlemen and Players (2005)

Mystery. Boys' boarding school.

HAZEL HOLT, The Cruellest Month (1991)

Mystery. Oxford.

HAZEL HOLT, Murder on Campus (1994, aka Mrs. Malory: Detective in Residence)

Mystery. American university.

RONA JAFFE, Class Reunion

General fiction. University. Brain candy partly set at Radcliffe in the 1950s.

ANGELA LAMBERT, No Talking After Lights (1990)

Girls' boarding school. Semi-autobiographical novel based on Lambert's own unhappy school days.

ARTHUR MARSHALL, Girls Will Be Girls (1974)

Perhaps not strictly fitting this list, but definitely of interest. This is a compilation of Marshall's humorous writings about school stories.

CLARE MORRALL, After the Bombing (2014)

General fiction. Girls' school. Set partly in 1942 and partly in 1963. Reviewed by Call Me Madam here.

ROBIN STEVENS, Wells & Wong mysteries (2013-present)

Mystery series set in a 1930s girls' boarding school, featuring two schoolgirl detectives.

DONNA TARTT, The Secret History (1992)

Bestselling thriller set at a posh Vermont college.

JILL PATON WALSH, Lapsing (1986)

Early non-mystery by Walsh, about a young undergraduate at Oxford in the 1950s, whose romantic travails lead her into a crisis of faith.

JILL PATON WALSH, Imogen Quy mysteries (1993-2007)

Series of four smart, cozy, Mrs. Malory-esque mysteries whose main character is a nurse at a Cambridge college.

JILL PATON WALSH, The Late Scholar (2013)

One of Walsh's new mysteries featuring Dorothy Sayers' Peter Wimsey; this one takes place primarily at Oxford

JACQUELINE WINSPEAR, A Lesson in Secrets (2011)

Mystery. Cambridge. One of Winspear's Maisie Dobbs mysteries.


  1. Oh! another lovely list for us to enjoy. Thank you

  2. Just noticed - Dora Saint - she always wrote as Miss Read and there are many more set in the village school. The school is what we call a Primary school. For 5 to 11 year old. You have put Grammar School but a grammar school was for 11 - 18 year old who passed an exam to get in. 11 year olds who didn't pass the exam went to a Secondary Modern School for 11 - 15/16 year olds. This all changed in 1971 when everything was mixed up and Schools became known as Comprehensive ( for everyone). Private schools where education is paid for by the parents are often known as Public Schools - I have no idea why- just to confuse probably.

    1. Thanks so much, Sue! That's very helpful. I've corrected it, and a few others too where the correct term must be primary school. Then there are high schools, which I am familiar with in the U.S. but suspect may be a different animal in the U.K.?

    2. Most Schools for 11 - 18 are called High schools. But now, depending on who is running the school we have Free Schools and Academy's! But that's a new idea by the recent governments so you needn't worry about that as they won't feature in your lovely book lists

    3. Okay, that makes sense. In the U.S. high school is roughly for 14-18, but at least it's the same general concept. Thanks, Sue!

  3. Me again!
    One to add
    Mavis Doriel Hay- Death on the Cherwell. Mystery just re-published by British Library Crime Classics. Originally written in 1935. Set in a university college

    1. Thanks, Sue. I'll do an updated list some time soon and add all of the wonderful suggestions.

  4. Hester Chapman's Long Division is set in a boys' prep school, and relates the horrors of a disintegrating marriage, complete with class overtones, as narrated by the headmaster's long-suffering wife. Another book by Chapman, Ever Thine, is also set in a boys' prep school, where all - pupils and masters alike - are dominated by the alluring, steely Victorine, the headmaster's wife, whose controlling actions over 20 years or so are recorded by the narrator, originally her rejected suitor and now one of the schoolmasters.

    1. Thanks so much for this information. I have always meant to look more closely at Chapman's work, but have not found time. If you're familiar with other of her works, feel free to email me--I'd love to know more.

  5. Donna Tartt The Secret History 1992. A bit late but as I recall quite good, set in a Classics Dept. in a large US university, written from a male viewpoint, a mystery.

    1. Oh, yes, Gina, I should have thought of that one. Thanks!

  6. Love it! AND an Angela Thirkell! Hoo-ray! About a year ago (or maybe slightly more) Scott got me into re-reading "Cat Among the Pigeons," and then I got into murders set in girls' schools - I particularly liked LeMarchand's "Death of an Old Girl." Tom

    1. Hopefully this will give you a few more titles for your reading list, Tom!

    2. Oh, yeah, right - because we all really need that with you around, Scott! HA!

  7. The Trouble at Wakeley Court (An Angela Marchmont Mystery Book 8 by Clara Benson, who you recently added to your list. This mystery takes place almost completely in a girls school.

    Another great list.


    1. Thanks, Jerri! I haven't looked into Benson's books yet beyond trying to identify her. I'll add that with my next update.

  8. Oh my goodness, another daunting list!
    Frost in May is one of the most depressing books you'll ever read.
    Since you're including universities, how about Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis? Very funny and published in 1954. Also The History Man, Malcolm Bradbury, 1970s, and David Lodge's books, especially Nice Work.

    Another recent i.e. too late for you book set in a school is After the Bombing by Clare Morrall, which I've reviewed.

    Cautionary tale. I read a comment on a blog discussion of Decline and Fall which showed that the commenter obviously thought it was an accurate representation of an English school, rather than a hilarious parody!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions, Barbara. I am happy to say that, even as an American, it never would have occurred to me to take Decline and Fall as a realistic portrayal!

  9. I've got some suggestions for your 'later but potentially interesting' section - Jill Paton Walsh has written some sequels to Sayers and these include 'The Late Scholar' which is mainly set in an Oxford college. Walsh's more contemporary mysteries about Imogen Quy, a nurse attached to a Cambridge college, are also interesting.
    There's also Jacqueline Wilson's mystery 'A Lesson in Secrets' which is set at a Cambridge college in 1932. And the novel 'After the Bombing' by Clare Morrall looks at a school in 1942 and 1963.
    I am particularly fond of novels set in schools and colleges so was very pleased to see this list – thank you!

    1. Thank you for these, Frances! I'll look into them and add them with my next update. I can't edit comments, but your correction re Jacqueline Winspear is below.

    2. It is late -- 1987 -- but if universities count, I would also add Jill Paton Walsh's _Lapsing_, which is about a young Catholic girl's time at Oxford in the 1950s, and a beautiful novel.

    3. That sounds very interesting, Cassandra. I'll make a note of it. Thanks!

  10. In university I had a habit of reading novels with university settings - This Side of Paradise and Zuleika Dobson come first to mind. I can't remember why exactly, though it may have had something to do with my plan to one day write my own "college novel".

    In any case, I have two relatively recent reads that might be added to your list; both come across during my exploration of obscure and forgotten Canadian literature. The first is Miriam of Queen's, a 1921 novel by the wonderfully named Lilian Vaux MacKinnon. A roman à clef, it takes place c.1900 at Kingston, Ontario's Queen's University. The second is The Dark Tunnel, a 1944 mystery novel by Kenneth Millar (a/k/a Ross MacDonald). His debut, it's set at Midwestern, a fictitious Michigan university. The copy I read was published under the title I Die Slowly.

    Please keep treating us with these lists. I'm enjoying them immensely.

    1. These are great, Brian. Thanks for sharing them! They may have to go on my TBR list as well...

  11. Earlier I tried to post a comment that I'd stupidly put that Jacqueline Wilson wrote 'A Lesson in Secrets' when I meant Jacqueline Winspear. I'm having problems with my internet though so don't know if that arrived.

  12. Another great list, Scott! I've read many of these, but the ones I haven't read, I'm going to. I love it that you've put an Angela Thirkell on the list. When I was still teaching, I had The Demon in the House on the 6th grade summer reading list, and the 7th grade teacher, also a Thirkell fan, had Summer Half. I read a lot of school stories and have been on a British girls' school stories binge for a couple of years now: Chalet School series, Abbey School series, Antonia Forest, Angela Brazil, etc. It was many of the books on your comprehensive list that got me onto those eventually.

    1. I'm glad you like it, Karen. Finding all the titles listed here will be a challenge, as some have really faded into oblivion, but I wish you the best of luck in tracking them down! Glad you're enjoying the girls' stories too--they are quite addictive.

  13. If it helps, in Britain "public schools" are private, fee-paying schools and "prep" schools are their junior equivalent (up to about age 11).

    State schools may be grammar schools (usually based on selection by examination) or comprehensive schools (no selection). Their junior equivalents were called "junior schools" and, for earlier ages (perhaps up to age 6 or 7) "infant schools".

    To confuse matters, some grammar schools are private and fee-paying and some are state funded. And some grammar schools are co-educational, some not. All comprehensives are also co-educational. Also, other terms were sometimes used for state schools, such as "upper" or "high" school.

    Almost all "boarding schools" are private, fee-paying. There are rare state boarding schools eg for children on offshore islands.

    Until a few year ago Britain had relatively few universities, and other places for post-18 learning were called polytechnics, technical colleges or colleges of further education. But most are now called universities.

    1. Thanks so much, Mark, this is very helpful, and answers my question to Sue above about high schools. I bet there are still some that are incorrectly identified on my list, and I'm also hampered by knowing very little about some of the books I've listed, but I certainly know more now than I did before!

  14. Goodness, Scott, another list. What joy. Thanks as always for sharing your hard-earned knowledge.

    I can think of nothing to add (well, except Charlotte Fairlie, which you mentioned above be kept off).

  15. No talking after Lights by Angela Lambert is about a girls' boarding school. A new girl has difficulty settling in and no one seems prepared to help her.

  16. Cat Among the Pigeons is my favorite Agata book. You won't regret reading it, actually it's the kind of book that keeps you awake until the very end.

  17. Many thanks for another glorious list, Scott. The humorous school girl stories of Arthur Marshall (who was a gay English author and radio personality). He was included in a rather bitchy group biography called Three Queer Lives, as was prolific writer Naomi Jacobs, can't remember the author and an on my phone so can't check. Also the wonderfully titled University set humorous crime novel Matricide at St Martha's.

    1. Thanks very much. I'll make a note of all of these, for myself as well as for the list. I've never heard of any of them, so you've added to my already overwhelming TBR list!

  18. Oops, the biography is by Paul Bailey and the humorous university crime series, of which Matricide at St Martha's is the first, are by Ruth Dudley Edwards , although they may be a bit late.

  19. I love this list! I know you have mentioned the Crispin Gervase Fen series. Love Lies Bleeding in addition is set in a boarding school in addition to Fen's Oxford link.


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