Discovered in the boy’s toilets with the lifeless remains of the school stick insects, Johnny Middleton finds himself at the centre of a storm in which he is implicated as their killer. Granted a temporary reprieve by the principal, he must endeavour to clear his name. Adopting the sardonic styling of a noir detective, Johnny sets about his investigations and recounts the various interviews with the Queens – the school’s drama club – with the students and the prefects.
As Johnny’s investigation progresses, more and more of the school pets suffer fatalities ratcheting up the imperative of discovering just whodunit. A curveball revelation is delivered that makes the narrative suddenly dizzyingly uncertain; no longer can readers be sure that the school factions are quite as Johnny has described them, much less that their possible motivations are as defined… This reaches out to the audience, inviting them to actively determine the novel. A subtle, shifting and surprising story that avoids easy definition and is memorable for the question marks that remain hanging long after the book itself is finished.