Passion Play

In New York City, a young man is found murdered in a dingy Times Square sex theater―his neck gruesomely snapped―and the only clue is a torn receipt from the Montpelier School for Boys bookstore.

Christmas break is just a couple of weeks away when Montpelier student Russell Phillips fetches up dead. Headmaster Lane, preferring to view Phillips’s death as a suicide, decides to keep the school open for the remainder of the term. But as the nights grow longer and colder―and more corpses begin to surface in connection with the rehearsals for Othello, the winter play―it becomes all too clear that the students and faculty are being stalked by a cool and calculating killer.

The local police and school administrators find themselves out of their depth. Even so, many people’s suspicions begin to focus on a single suspect―until he, too, turns up dead.

A gripping tour de force that brilliantly uses an isolated boarding school campus as the setting for this propulsive mystery, Passion Play will keep the reader guessing until the final act.


As sports practice and rehearsals for Othello are underway, young Thomas Boatwright captures the reader’s heart...The author, chairman of the English Department at a boys’ school, skillfully creates a mystery superior to most, endowing teachers, teachers’ wives, sports coaches, the boys and their girlfriends with an unforgettable reality.”
— Publishers Weekly
Blain creates a rich, claustrophobic world where reputations and even lives might be lost at a student mixer or faculty tea.” Stasio goes on to cite “the endearing character of Thomas Boatwright, a sensitive 15-year-old student who struggles honorably with his conscience (and, at one point, with the killer) to arrive at an understanding of the moral points of Shakespeare’s play.”
— Marilyn Stasio in The New York Times