Some people deserve to be taught a lesson…
A gripping detective mystery 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 Faith Martin and L. J. Ross.
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.
Rachel Sargeant is the author of Kindle Top Ten bestseller The Perfect Neighbours. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition and has been placed or shortlisted in various competitions, including the Bristol Short Story Prize. Her stories have appeared in My Weekly and the Accent Press Saucy Shorts series. Rachel grew up in Lincolnshire, spent several years living in Germany and now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book?
The Good Teacher is out now in eBook and the paperback will follow on 21 February. Detective Constable Pippa Adams arrives for her first day in Penbury CID and finds herself investigating the murder of a much-loved, local teacher. Constantly dismissed by her new colleagues and nicknamed Agatha because of her “Miss Marple” approach to the crime scene, Pippa has to rely on her instincts to get to the bottom of the case. She discovers the darker side of school where some lessons are harder than others.
Who would your book be perfect for?
For fans of police procedurals that feature an ensemble cast of detectives. There’s a light feel to the story although it covers dark themes.
Did you have a favourite character to write?
DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams is a 24-year-old, 5’11”, blue-eyed blonde. Underestimated not only because of her looks but also for her tendency to talk hind legs of several donkeys, to drop things and to turn up in inappropriate clothing. The only time she’s not clumsy is on a stage. Her dance teacher and her mother will never understand why she abandoned her career as a professional dancer to become a police officer. And Pippa will never tell them why…
What inspired you to the write the book?
In 2002, I attended my first ever writing workshop led by crime writer David Armstrong. He set us a five-minute exercise featuring a character in a fix. Everyone was really kind when I read out my paragraph. On the way home, I spotted Writing Magazine in a newsagent’s and bought a copy. It contained an advert for the magazine’s annual Crime Short Story Competition. Buoyed up with enthusiasm after the workshop, I decided to expand my 100-word paragraph into a 1600-word short story for the competition. I couldn’t believe my beginner’s luck when it won. I attended the prize-winning ceremony in Harrogate and felt like a proper writer.
Back home again, I set about writing a novel based on the short story. I set it in the fictional town of Penbury. This was inspired by Shrewsbury where I lived at the time. The book found a publisher in 2010. When the publisher ceased trading, they gave me back my rights and I rewrote the novel using the techniques I’d learnt on my recent Creative Writing MA course at Lancaster University.
I’m thrilled that my editor at HarperCollins liked the updated version and worked with me to get it ready for the Killer Reads list. The result is The Good Teacher. The essence of the 100-word workshop paragraph is still in the first chapter.
A lot of people have led me to this final version: the workshop leader, Writing Magazine competition judges, MA tutors and fellow students, my agent, editor and copy editor, and, of course, my supportive husband. I’m grateful to them all.
Can you share with us a photo from 2018 that meant something special to you?
This photo shows me in Asda in December. My psychological thriller The Perfect Neighbours sold well, making the Kindle Top Ten, and it has recently been bought by WHSmith Travel, Asda and Sainsbury’s. I think it counts as my proudest bookish moment.
Do you have any questions for your readers?
First of all, a big thank you to everyone who has read one of my books. I hope you liked it.
My question would be: what would you like me to write next? I have a few writing projects on the go but I’m always thinking of ideas for the future. The Good Teacher is a character-driven police procedural, The Perfect Neighbours is a slow-burn psychological thriller and my next book is a character-driven psychological thriller. So where next? More slow burners? More DC Pippa “Agatha” Adams? Something else? I’d love to know what readers think.
What is your favourite read of your whole life and why?
Precious Bane by Mary Webb. I’ve only read it once and I’ll never read it again because I don’t want to spoil the magical memory I have of it. It’s written in a pretend dialect of nineteenth century country people and it felt a bit like I was reading a novel in German. (I do read novels in German and at first only understand one word in three until I get used to the author’s style and vocabulary range.) In the end, the unusual words and phrasing made me like Precious Bane all the more. I loved the main characters: Prue – a bright, plucky girl but with no hope of marriage as she has a hair lip – and Kester – the strong, free-thinking itinerant weaver. I adored the slowly building romance between these two intelligent, compassionate people in a community which doesn’t value either of these qualities.
What are you working on now?
I’m putting the finishing touches to The Roommates, a psychological thriller set in a university Freshers’ week. Four students. Four secrets. One crime. It comes out on the main HarperCollins list in the autumn.
About the Author
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