REVIEW: ‘In the Hall with the Knife’

Credit: Amulet BooksScarlet, Mustard, Green, White – if you’re at all familiar with the board game Clue then these colors immediately stood out to you and might hold quite a bit of nostalgia. They’re names of characters (or better yet, suspects) along with Peacock, Plum, and Orchid. Just add some weapons (candlestick, rope, lead pipe, knife) and locations (Library, Kitchen, Conservatory, Hall) and you have the classic Hasbro board game!

The whodunit board game has been adapted several times – from the classic quotable film, a mini-series, and now a book series by Diana Peterfreund.

In similar fashion to the board game, In the Hall With the Knife features the same set of characters, but in a modern retelling. As the characters are forced to seek shelter in Tudor House during a stormy night at Blackbrook Academy, there are dire consequences the morning after. Their Headmaster Boddy is dead, and everyone’s a suspect!

We were graciously sent an advanced readers copy of the book and I absolutely devoured it! As each chapter went past I had different suspects in mind. I loved the settings of Black Brook Academy (I’m kind of a sucker for boarding school settings to begin with) and Tudor House, and really got a sense of the history behind the school. Each chapter is in a different character’s point of view, which was a great way to get to know these characters. There’s the lovingly self absorbed Scarlet Mistry, (imagine a younger Tahani from The Good Place), Orchid McKee (who’s a mystery herself), military transfer Sam “Mustard” Maestor, science whiz Finn Plum, tennis star Beth “Peacock” Picach, and townie Vaughn Green. Don’t worry: Mrs. White and additional infamous characters play a role as well.

What really drew me into this book, and what I admired, was of course the many references to the board game (the weapons casually mentioned, rooms in Tudor House, etc.), but also that the novel still told its own story and wasn’t just one giant fan service for fans of Clue. Not to mention that these classically known characters are their own people and each one is given such a strong personality.

Sine it’s both set in December and at a private boarding school, filled with mystery and the like, this is such a great book to read right now! You can cuddle up on the couch during a storm with various fall candles burning – what a mood!

The official blurb of the first novel in the announced trilogy is below:

One storm will change their lives forever…if they survive the night.

When a killer storm strikes at Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students are left stranded at the aristocratic mansion on campus. House later, his lifeless body is discovered in a pool of blood.

If anyone’s read In the Hall With the Knife, what were your thoughts on it? Overall, I absolutely loved it and I can’t wait to see what the sequel has in store.

In the Hall With the Knife is now available at your local bookstore.