The blurb for The Good Teacher by Rachel Sargeant teased me with the line, “A gripping thriller with a shocking twist.” I dove right into the book, hungry for the clues that would leave me trying to guess the twist.
Sargeant starts off with the intriguing description of a woman handcuffed to a chair. This first paragraph is definitely a hook. Who is she and why is she handcuffed? And who has handcuffed her? The next paragraph finds a man cycling on a country road. Before the first chapter closes the cyclist finds an abandoned car and a dead body in a ditch, and the woman, Gaby, is rescued by the police.
It’s in chapter two the reader is introduced the best character in the book, Pippa Adams, the new DC at Penbury Police HQ. Pippa has a fascinating history I will leave readers to discover on their own. Partnered with DS Matthews she is soon on her way to investigate the happenings at the home of Gaby Brock, wife to the late teacher, Carl Brock. As the details of the crime are revealed, Sargeant tosses out clues that are far from obvious at first glance.
As Pippa, nicknamed “Agatha” in honor of Agatha Christie by the experienced detectives, suffers the practical jokes and teasing of her new co-workers she begins to put clues together. Hints about her past are given throughout and her character is beautifully fleshed out. I found myself rooting for her initial appearance.
Sargeant has created a story with good descriptions of British police procedures. While Pippa’s introduction and integration into the detective squad is predictable, it is also relatable. Her partner, DS Matthews may resent being stuck with the newbie, but he develops a grudging respect for her. The hard-nosed DI Bagley is the female head of the department and it is apparent she is not certain she can hold on to her title. She barks orders like a drill sergeant and puts pressure on her squad to solve the mysterious murder of the popular teacher.
At times the book seems almost like an outline for a story. Other than Pippa, I had to struggle to remember the names and roles of the other characters. The story is interesting and had a lot of potential in the first couple of chapters. After that, it seemed to drag on. There are drug dealers, gangsters, stereotypical criminals, and badly-behaved teens who struggle to keep the story moving. They seem extraneous much of the time. Their characters never bloom. It did have a nice twist in the end, although I figured it out early on.
If you’re looking for a quick, easy read, you might enjoy this book. I would like to see Pippa show up in a future book and would even purchase it just to see her show her co-workers she has more on the ball than they realize.
Some people deserve to be taught a lesson…
A gripping thriller with a shocking twist, from the Top Ten Kindle bestselling author of The Perfect Neighbours. This riveting story about a murdered teacher is perfect for fans of THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR.
Even the good have to die.
A beloved teacher is murdered and left in a ditch beside a country lane. His wife is found beaten and gagged in their suburban home.
Even the best schools have secrets.
New detective Pippa Adams learns that the teacher ran a homework club for vulnerable pupils. But what did he really teach them?
Even the perfect family has something to hide.
When Pippa scratches the surface of the school community, she meets families who’ve learned a shattering lesson. And finally uncovers the good teacher’s darkest secrets…
Previously published as LONG TIME WAITING, now fully updated.
About Rachel Sargeant