Love Cools

Love Cools concerns dastardly doings at Virginia's Montpelier School for Boys: this time, the death of the wife of a faculty member in a suspicious fire, and charges of plagiarism leveled against a mischievous schoolboy. Claiming he's been framed, young Richard Blackburn vows revenge. When he and the pompous widower, along with several other Montpelierites, turn up at the same summer theater, Richard sees an ideal opportunity for striking back. But he is not the only person with a hidden agenda: the cast of characters includes a repeat killer playing his veiled, villainous role to the hilt. With its twisted plot and absolutely unguessable resolution, Love Cools is a superior tale of mystery and malfeasance.


Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains again serve as the stage for duplicity and murder in this wonderful whodunit by the author of the Edgar-nominated Passion Play…. Blain provides a white-knuckler of a resolution, and prepares for it with biting satire, insightful narrative and memorable characters, which make this mystery remarkably rich.”
— Publishers Weekly
Would a joke about Northrop Frye make you (a) laugh or (b) cringe? Do you agree with the following statement: “Nowhere was a place more cold-blooded than a graduate English department”? Have you ever wanted to strangle your (a) faculty adviser, (b) graduate assistant or (c) college-age child? If you liked this little quiz, then have I got a book for you. LOVE COOLS, W. Edward Blain’s second campus mystery, after “Passion Play,” delivers a devious murder plot that catches the conscience, or lack of it, of the summer faculty at the Stone Mountain Theater in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Fierce professional rivalries break out among this cutthroat gang of teachers after an esteemed Shakespearean scholar dies in a fire. Although her last manuscript was presumably destroyed, two thematically different versions surface, giving rise to grave charges of fraud. Mr. Blain, who is chairman of the English department at Woodberry Forest School in Virginia, creates a wonderfully poisonous atmosphere in which his articulate characters wage their vendettas, along plot lines that cunningly parallel those of the two shows in rehearsal. Leaving the unethical grown-ups to play at the dirty tricks of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the director’s sensitive adolescent son wraps himself in young Hamlet’s black mantle of revenge to get back at a sadistic teacher. For all the palpable hits he scores with his satirical thrusts at academe, Mr. Blain takes Hamlet’s theme — the alienation and betrayal of children by their parents — very much to heart.”
— Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times