Thursday, October 26, 2023

"Anything is possible": NOREEN BOND, Hide Away (1936) & Take Care (1938)

"You know, that's a coincidence that no one would dare to use in a novel," Martin interrupted musingly.
"Nonsense," Miles retorted. "In the kind of novels I write, anything is possible. I shall use the situation in my next."

When I completed the last update of my main author list, I still hadn't come across any details about the two novels written by one Nancy Helen Beckh under the pseudonym Noreen Bond. But something finally led me to dig a little deeper, and I came across short reviews of both which might have been calculated to pique my interest. Of Hide Away, the Aberdeen Press & Journal wrote: 

Here is an unusual story—unusual not for its plot but for its heroine, a tomboy girl of eighteen, in an age of sophisticated young ladies of that age. On Susan's tomboy activities depends the solving of the mystery of "Hydeways," the house next door, and the unravelling of the various causes which have kept Colin Spencer tied to an invalid chair when he might have been living a normal useful life. Through all the mystery runs their delightful love story. The characters are unusual in a crime story, but bear the stamp of verisimilitude.

We shall come back in a moment to what on earth the reviewer could have been thinking using the term "verisimilitude" for anything at all in this novel (Bond/Beckh clearly identified with her author character, Miles, in the quotation above), but for now we proceed to the Nottingham Journal's review of Take Care

Her heroine, Gillian Trevor, almost down and out, with two and ninepence in her pocket in a London boarding house, suddenly has mystery thrown in her path by a fellow boarder who reveals himself as a detective engaged on a jewel robbery case. Gillian enters into the scheme with her eyes open. She takes a job as caretaker [take care, get it?] in a lonely country house. Here she meets a cosy old lady, a taciturn young man, Peregrine, the ginger cat and some surprising adventures.

"Surprising" is quite the understatement, but at least this reviewer doesn't suggest there's anything realistic about it. These snippets were, at any rate, enough to make me seek out both books on our recent visit to the British Library, on the calculation that they might be irresistibly silly, energetic jaunts, and although I can't begin to claim that either turned out to be a treasure—or even irresistible—I have to say they were both pleasant enough to read. Not very far off from Mabel Esther Allan's girls' adventure stories. 

Hide Away
features a daft criminal conspiracy worthy of Agatha Christie at her most paranoid, though the heroine—perky enough to have been drawn straight from a Chalet School story—is fun to spend some time with, even if she often seems more like twelve than eighteen. Take Care features the more mature Gillian, who is plucky and brave and independent enough to rise (at least slightly) above the bonkers plot, involving a lost will, stolen jewels, and heaven knows what else.

Both books make every possible use of the most unfathomable coincidences, so that even a reader predisposed to generously suspend disbelief will surely be rolling her eyes. The Chalet School's flood and fire rescues have nothing on these tales! One half expects a villain to be taken out by a well-aimed meteorite. I can't sum up the plots without spoiling a dozen or so coincidental developments, so I'll just say that, daft as they are, a certain charm and skillful plotting kept me reading through both of them. I have a tendency to toss books aside if I become even slightly bored (soooooo many books, so little time), so that will have to stand as the best praise I can offer.

But I do have to single out one thing from the latter novel. The opening pages of Take Care, in a rather startling bit of—yes, shock of shocks—realism, contains one of the best portrayals I've seen in middlebrow fiction of poverty and hunger. Gillian has left a teaching post after an unpleasant scene and come to London to find work, but it's the Depression and work is scarce, she falls in between the types of workers being sought, and she is down to her last pence, running out of money for rent despite having been on a starvation budget for several days. She walks to delay her pathetic evening meal as long as possible, and to pass the time without the entertainment she can't afford:

When she reached Piccadilly everything looked blurred and grey. Waves of faintness swept over her but she stared hard into a tobacconist's window till the gay packets resumed their proper shape and colour. It would be too awful if she fainted here. Quite obviously it was time she had something to eat, but the thought of the long hours ahead before she could reasonably go to bed made her struggle on. 

If she walked very slowly up Regent Street and made herself look in every window it ought to take nearly an hour. She'd go up the left-hand side because the curve of the street made it longer and there weren't so many places where food was displayed.

One can't help but think that Bond/Beckh must have witnessed or personally experienced some impoverished days herself in order to so effectively capture the feeling. From this point on, there's no glimmer of realism to be found in the book, but the opening pages were really striking and even moving, and make me wish that Bond, who was in her mid-30s when she published these novels (from the tone I had imagined her a precocious author just out of school), had kept on writing, and focused a bit more on the things she knew first-hand, rather than on ludicrous adventures. There was certainly potential there, and who knows where she might have got to?

Friday, October 20, 2023


I first created this thematic list—of (mostly) novels for grown-ups, written by women in the first half or so of the 20th century, with school settings—back in 2015, and subsequently updated it, as a result of feedback and suggestions, in May of 2016. Which means that since that time, for well over seven years now, I’ve been keeping track, in my ongoing research, of titles which belong on the list, without ever having (or at least making) the time to add them to the published version. Better late than never, right?

The May 2016 version of the main portion of this list—of non-mysteries by women—contained 65 titles, while this new version more than doubles that number, to 141 titles. It’s a dizzyingly varied collection—from comedic tales and career stories to memoirs of school life in wartime to edgy, tragic, political, or even rather salacious stories with school or college settings.

The post linked above explains the logic of the list—basically, that schools, as more or less closed societies, provide (or at least can provide) a relatively unique focus on relationships between girls and women, as opposed to the romantic or melodramatic focus of so many other types of novels. Novels set in schools often feature women’s professional lives and interactions with other women (rather than their attractiveness or fashion sense, or their success or failure with men) as a central topic in ways that novels with other settings only occasionally do. Surely the popularity of school stories for girls in the first half of the 20th century helped pave the way for these more mature looks at school life—indeed, some of the works here may appear to be just “naughtier” girls’ school stories. But light or dark, naughty or nice, there are certainly useful things to be learned from looking at these books as a sort of subgenre of women’s writing in the period, and I hope you’ll find that too.

Below the main list are sub-lists of mysteries by women writers (where the closed society setting can create particularly intriguing situations), a completely non-definitive list of some mysteries by male authors with school settings, which some readers may find entertaining, and a sort of miscellaneous list containing more recent titles, works by men, or other books which don’t fit into the main list but may be thematically of interest to readers with an interest in school settings.

In addition to all the folks who made suggestions and offered feedback on the earlier versions of the list, I have to particularly mention Sue Sims and Hilary Clare, whose glorious “Bible” of girls’ school writing, The Encyclopaedia of Girls' School Stories (first published 2000, revised & expanded edition 2020) has been an invaluable resource, both in general since my blog began and in particular for this list. Volume 1 of the new edition contains an extensive article about school stories written for adults, as well as a brilliant bibliography of titles. One might imagine that our lists would be largely the same (and we have often alerted one another to new discoveries), but in fact our requirements for inclusion are quite different. I include any type of school setting, while they limit their field to girls’ boarding schools or colleges; on the other hand, they include titles from any time period and by male authors, while I tend to focus on the first half to two-thirds of the 20th century and only include women writers in the main section of my list. But the rather lovely part of those differences is that you can use and find useful both of our lists depending on what you’re seeking! A special thanks to Sue and Hilary for all sorts of advice and assistance over the years (and for a lovely lunch in Oxford last year).

As always with my lists, please don’t hesitate to contact me regarding errors, oversights, or new discoveries. And now, without further ado (but I always seem to provide a lot of ado, adon’t I?—sorry…), here’s the new, improved Grown-up School Story List.

(updated 11 Jan 2024)


P. B. (PATRICIA BARNES) ABERCROMBIE, The Little Difference (1959)
Girls' boarding school. Reviewed

RUTH ADAM, I'm Not Complaining (1938)
Depression-era primary school.

MARJORIE ALAN (as DORIS M. BUMPUS), Pattern in Beads (1944)
Girl’s boarding school. Part school. About a country girl’s experiences at boarding-school and then in London, including during the Blitz.

ZOË AKINS, Forever Young (1941)
American. Girls' boarding school.

American. Retraces one woman’s life as a student and then as teacher in a small Midwestern town. Filmed in 1941 as “Cheers for Miss Bishop.”

MABEL ESTHER ALLAN, Here We Go Round (1954)
Primary school. Reviewed

ANNE ALLARDICE, Unwillingly to School (1930)
About a young woman's experience as a teacher in two different schools (probably but not definitely girls' boarding schools).

VERILY ANDERSON, Daughters of Divinity (1960)
Memoir. Girls' boarding school. Reviewed

New Zealand. Primary school.

MARJORIE F. BACON, Men Have Their Dreams (1941)
A bit fringe for this list, but unusual enough to include. Set in a school for typing and shorthand.

CARMAN BARNES, Schoolgirl (1929)
American. Girls' boarding school. Lesbianism and sexual experimentation.

KATHLEEN BARRATT, To Fight Another Day (1947)
Girls' high school.

BETSEY A. BARTON, Shadow of the Bridge (1950)
American. Girls' boarding school. Sounds rather bleak.

MARY BELL, Summer's Day (1951)
Girls' boarding school. Reviewed

FRANCES BELLERBY, Shadowy Bricks (1932)
Progressive school.

Part school. Girls’ college.

P. Y. BETTS, French Polish (1933)
Girls' finishing school. Reviewed

DOROTHY MAYWOOD BIRD, The Black Opal (1949)
American co-ed college. Borderline mystery.

WINIFRED BLAZEY, The Crouching Hill (1941)
Evacuated primary school. Loosely mystery-themed.

WINIFRED BLAZEY, Grace Before Meat (1942)
Village school. Loosely mystery-themed.

URSULA BLOOM (as MARY ESSEX), Haircut for Samson (1940)
Boys’ prep school. Set at outbreak of WWII.

VERA BRITTAIN, The Dark Tide (1935)

SARAH CAMPION, If She Is Wise (1935)
Girls' boarding school in U.S., with British teachers.

SARAH CAMPION, Unhandsome Corpse (1938)
Girls' boarding school.

EDWARD CANDY, Parents' Day (1967)
Co-ed boarding school. Reviewed

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.

VIRGINIA CHASE, The End of the Week (1953)
American. Elementary school.

JOAN COGGIN, And Why Not Knowing (1929)
Described by Sims and Clare as a precursor to her Joanna Lloyd school stories. Traces three girls from school days to early adulthood. Reviewed here.

COLETTE, Claudine at School (1900)
French. Girls’ boarding school.

CHRISTABEL R. COLERIDGE, The Green Girls of Greythorpe (1890)
Girls' charity boarding-school. Fifty Pounds (1891) appears to be a non-school sequel.

IVY COMPTON-BURNETT, More Women than Men (1933)
Girls' boarding school.

CATHERINE COOKSON, The Devil and Mary Ann (1958)
Girls' convent school. Sequel to A Grand Man (1955), protagonist's tale continues in Love and Mary Ann (1961).

ELIZABETH COXHEAD, A Play Toward (1952)
Village primary school. Reviewed

HONOR CROOME, The Mountain and the Molehill (1955)
Girls' boarding school in Switzerland.

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.

DOROTHY DENNISON, Full Circle (1954)
Boys' school. About a servant in a private school for boys, by a well-known author of girls' school stories.

JOAN DERING, Louise (1956)
Part school. “Second-rate public school.”

BETTY DE SHERBININ, Monkey Puzzle (1952)
Canadian author. English girls' boarding school in Buenos Aires.

TIAH DEVITT, The Aspirin Age (1932)
Described in a blurb as mixing "finishing-school girls and gunmen."

VERA G. DWYER, A War of Girls (1915)
Australia. Girls' boarding school.

WATSON DYKE, As Others See Us (1899)
Seaside (girls'?) boarding school.

SOPHIA ENGSTRAND, Miss Munday (1940)
American. Small town school.

CHERRY EVANS, Love from Belinda (1962)
Girls' boarding school.

HELEN FOLEY, A Handful of Time (1961)
Set before and after WWII in and around Cambridge.

MARGARET FORSTER, Miss Owen-Owen Is at Home (1969)
Girls' high school.

KATHLEEN FREEMAN (later MARY FITT), The Huge Shipwreck (1934)
Part school. Girls' boarding school.

MARION FOX, The Luck of the Town (1922)
Supernatural tale set at a university in an industrial town.

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.

CAROLINE GLYN, Don't Knock the Corners Off (1963)
Several types of school.

RUTH M. GOLDRING, Ann's Year (1933)
University. "[A] story combining school and business life in its period."

RUTH M. GOLDRING, Educating Joanna (1935)

BARBARA GOOLDEN, Strange Strife (1952)
Private co-ed prep school.

GWETHALYN GRAHAM, Swiss Sonata (1938)
Canadian author. Girls' finishing school in Switzerland.

SALLY GRIFFITHS, Winter Day in a Glasshouse (1968)
Girls' boarding school.

HELEN HAMILTON, The Iconoclast (1917)
Girls' high school. About a schoolteacher's romance.

Girls' boarding school in France.

MARGARET HASSETT, Educating Elizabeth (1937)
Girls' boarding school. Reviewed

MARGARET HASSETT, Beezer's End (1949)
Girls' boarding school. Sequel to Educating Elizabeth.

E. L. HAVERFIELD, Joan Tudor's Triumph (1918)
Girls' boarding school. Marketed for children, but possibly of interest to adults due to its portrayal of post-traumatic stress.

RENÉE HAYNES, Neapolitan Ice (1932)

CECILIA HILL, The Citadel (1917)
Uncertain. Appears to deal with "the domestic fortunes of a schoolmistress in England", though it reportedly ends with a vivid description of the fall of Dinant in Belgium in World War I.

ROSE MARIE HODGSON, Rosy-Fingered Dawn (1934)

JOYCE HORNER, The Wind and the Rain (1943)
Girls' boarding school. Part school.

FRANCES HUISH, Selena Triumphant (1940)
University (Oxford) & girls' boarding school.

ELIZABETH JENKINS, Young Enthusiasts (1947)
Progressive school.

FANNY JOHNSON, In Statu Pupillari (1907)

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.

JOSEPHINE KAMM, Nettles to My Head (1939)
Girls' boarding school. Part school. Reviewed

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.

LUCY KINLOCK, A World Within a School (1937)
Girls' boarding school. On the border between children's and adult fiction.

MADELEINE L'ENGLE, A Small Rain (1945)
American. First section set in Swiss boarding school.

ELIZABETH LAKE, The First Rebellion (1952)
Girls' convent boarding school. Reviewed

Endowed school.

WINIFRED LEAR, Shady Cloister (1950)
Girls' boarding school.

WINIFRED LEAR, Down the Rabbit Hole (1975)
Memoir. Private school, grammar school.

ROSAMOND LEHMANN, Dusty Answer (1927)
Part college.

JOAN LINDSAY, Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967)
Australia. Women's college.

CHRISTINE LONGFORD, Making Conversation (1931)
Part girls' boarding school, part Oxford.

V. I. LONGMAN, Harvest (1913)
Oxford. Part school.

SHENA MACKAY, Dust Falls on Eugene Schlumberger (1964)
Convent school.

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.

MAY MARSHALL, Impetuous Friend (1937)
High school. "Deals with the life of a quiet high school mistress. It is well told with humour and lively descriptions."

FRANCES MARTIN, Summer Meridian (1956)
Co-ed progressive school. Mentioned in brief

MARGARET MASTERMAN, Gentleman's Daughters (1931)
Girl's school.

JOLLIFFE METCALFE, Finished Abroad (1930)
Girls' finishing school in Switzerland.

DIANA MORGAN, Delia (1974)
Wales. Early 1900s girls’ boarding 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.

VANE POST, Plantagenet Anne (1929)
Part school. Girls' boarding school.

LALAGE PULVERTAFT, Golden October (1965)
Boys' boarding school.

EVELYN QUINLAN, Quest of Youth (1950)
Girls' boarding school.

MONICA REDLICH, Cheap Return: Portrait of an Educated Woman (1934)
Part school. Girls' college.

HENRY HANDEL RICHARDSON, The Getting of Wisdom (1910)
Australian. Girls' boarding school.

FERN RIVES, Friday, Thank God (1943)
American. Los Angeles area high school.

DORA SAINT (aka MISS READ), Village School (1955)
Village school. Also, numerous sequels with connections to the school.

DORA SAINT (aka MISS READ), Fresh from the Country (1960)
Suburban co-ed day school. Reviewed

MAY SARTON, The Small Room (1961)
American. Women’s college.

EDITH SAUNDERS, The Passing Hours (1960)
Girls' boarding school. Part school.

ELEANOR SCOTT, War Among Ladies (1928)
Girls' high school.

NAN SHEPHERD, The Quarry Wood (1928)

BARBARA SILVER, Our Young Barbarians, or, Letters from Oxford (1935)
University. Review describes "faithful chronicling of a fairly ordinary routine."

CLARE SIMON, Bats with Baby Faces (1958)
Girls' convent school. Part school.

VIOLET A. SIMPSON, Occasion's Forelock (1906)

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. "The difficulties, the hopes and disappointments in the life of an elementary school teacher."

MURIEL SPARK, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)
Girls' day school.

DAPHNE STANFORD, June Harcourt (1940)
France. Girls' pensionnat. Per Sims & Clare, on the borderline of children’s and adult fiction.

D. E. STEVENSON, Charlotte Fairlie (1954)
Girls' boarding school. Part school.

D. E. STEVENSON, Summerhills (1956)
In part about setting up a boys' school.

MONICA STIRLING, Dress Rehearsal (1951)
Girls' boarding school. Reviewed

LESLEY STORM, Robin and Robina (aka To Love and To Cherish) (1956)
University & girls' boarding school. Part school.

DOROTHY STRACHEY (aka OLIVIA), Olivia (1949)
Girls' boarding school in France.

ALICE STRONACH, A Newnham Friendship (1901)

MARY STURT, Be Gentle to the Young (1937)

NETTA SYRETT, A School Year (aka Girls of the Sixth Form) (1902)
Girls’ boarding school.

NETTA SYRETT, The Victorians (aka Rose Cottingham) (1902)
Girls' boarding school. Part school.

NETTA SYRETT, The God of Chance (1920)
Girls' boarding school.


ANGELA THIRKELL, Summer Half (1937)
Boys' boarding school.

ANGELA THIRKELL, The Headmistress (1944)
Girls' boarding school.

SYLVIA THOMPSON, The Hounds of Spring (1926)
University. Part school.

Girls' finishing school in France.

ANNE TRENEER, A Stranger in the Midlands (1952)
Memoir. Girls' high school in Birmingham.


FRANCES TURK, The Summer Term (1965)
Girls' boarding school.

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

ROSALIND WADE, Children Be Happy (1931)
Girls’ day school.

DOREEN WALLACE, A Little Learning (1931)
University. Part school.

KATHLEEN WALLACE, Time Changes the Tune (1948)
University. About a group of women attending a reunion at their Cambridge college.

ANTONIA WHITE, Frost in May (1933)
Girls' convent school.

BETTY WHITE, I Lived This Story (1930)
American. College.

MARY BRADFORD WHITING, Meriel's Career: A Tale of Literary Life in London (1914)
Part school.

MARY WILKES, The Only Door Out (1945)
University & convent school.

BARBARA WILLARD, Proposed and Seconded (1951)
Grammar school.

ETHEL MARY WILMOT-BUXTON, Gildersleeves (1921)
Girls' high school.

MARGARET WOODS, The Invader (1907)

D[OROTHY]. WYNNE WILLSON, Early Closing (1931)
Boys' boarding school. Discussed



LOIS AUSTEN-LEIGH, The Incredible Crime (1931)
University. "[A] witty take on academic life in Cambridge."

JOSEPHINE BELL, The Summer School Mystery (1950)
Summer school for music students.

JOSEPHINE BELL, Death at Half Term (1939)
Boys' boarding school. Discussed in brief

DOROTHY BOWERS, Fear and Miss Betony (1941)
Wartime girls' boarding school.

JANET CAIRD, Murder Scholastic (1967)
Scottish secondary school.

SARAH CAMPION, Unhandsome Corpse (1938)
Girls' boarding school.

EDWARD CANDY (Barbara Alison Nevill), Words for Murder Perhaps (1971)

AGATHA CHRISTIE, Cat Among the Pigeons (1959)
Girls' boarding school. Reviewed

EILEEN HELEN CLEMENTS, Cherry Harvest (1943)
Wartime girls' boarding school evacuated to a country manor house. Reviewed

G. D. H. and MARGARET COLE, Scandal at School (aka The Sleeping Death) (1935)
Girls' school.

AMANDA CROSS, The Theban Mysteries (1971)
American girls' school.

HELEN EUSTIS, The Horizontal Man (1946)
New England women's college.

ANTONIA FRASER, Quiet as a Nun (1977)
Girls' convent school.

MAVIS DORIEL HAY, Death on the Cherwell (1935)
University. Discussed in brief

P. D. JAMES, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1972)
Cambridge. Limited university content.

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. Discussed in brief

GLADYS MITCHELL, Death at the Opera (1934)
Co-ed 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, Faintley Speaking (1954)
Large co-educational school. Discussed in brief

GLADYS MITCHELL, Twelve Horses and the Hangman’s Noose (1956)
Boys’ boarding school. Only brief school-related scenes.

GLADYS MITCHELL, Skeleton Island (1967)
Part school. Boys' boarding school.

GLADYS MITCHELL, Convent on Styx (1975)
Girls' convent boarding school. Discussed in brief

GLADYS MITCHELL, No Winding Sheet (1984)
Boys' boarding school.

DOROTHY L. SAYERS, Gaudy Night (1935)

NANCY SPAIN, Death Before Wicket (1946)
Girls' boarding school.

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)
Girls' boarding school (partial).

GRACE MILLER WHITE, The Square Mark (1929)
American author, but setting is English girls' boarding school.

JUNE WRIGHT, Faculty of Murder (1961)
Australian. Girls' hostel at University of Melbourne.

MARGARET YORKE, series featuring Patrick Grant (1980s)



ANTHONY BERKELEY, Murder in the Basement (1932)
Boys' prep school (partial).

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. No students appear.

MILES BURTON, Murder Out of School (1951)
Boys' prep school.

CHRISTOPHER BUSH, The Case of the Dead Shepherd (1934)
Co-ed high school.

ALAN CLUTTON-BROCK, Murder at Liberty Hall (1941)
Co-ed progressive school.

EDMUND CRISPIN, Gervase Fen series

GLYNN DANIEL, The Cambridge Murders (1945)

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.

REGINALD HILL, An Advancement of Learning (1971)

JAMES HILTON, Murder at School (1931)
Boys' boarding school.

JOHN LE CARRÉ, A Murder of Quality (1962)
Boys' boarding school.

NORMAN LONGMATE, A Head for Death (1958)
Boys' public school.

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 teacher, but books feature few school-related scenes.

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.

R. C. WOODTHORPE, The Public School Murder (1932)
Boys' school



MARION ADAMS-ACTON, Golden Days (1873)
German boarding school.

CLARA BENSON, The Trouble at Wakeley Court (2015)
Girls' boarding school. Originally fraudulently claimed to be written in the 1930s.

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.

ELLY GRIFFITHS, Justice Jones series, beginning with A Girl Called Justice (2019)
Mystery. Girls’ boarding school.

BETH GUTCHEON, The New Girls (1979)
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.

LESLIE HOWARTH, Ladies in Residence (1936)
University. Male author.

RONA JAFFE, Class Reunion (1979)
University (partial). 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)
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.

LOUISE TANNER, Miss Bannister's Girls (1963)
American. "A witty, scandalously hilarious look at the inmates of a private girls' school—20 years later."

DONNA TARTT, The Secret History (1992)
University. Thriller set at a posh Vermont college.

KATHLEEN WALLACE, Grace on Their Doorposts (1944)
Cambridge. Narrated by the daughter of a Cambridge don, but no actual school setting. 

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.

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