Our publishing company, Girandole Books, has added a new title to its list.
Beating a Dead Stick takes place in an urban high school in the 1980s. It is is a novel about buffoonish educators and their hapless students told by Barbara Butler, an English teacher who has reached the end of her rope.
The students learn nothing and the faculty doesn’t care. A student is raped in the book room but won’t identify the rapist. Near the school, another student is murdered during a robbery at a convenience store. There are rumors of a call-girl ring involving the students, but the faculty remains comically oblivious.
When the teacher’s best friend, a transvestite math teacher, is badly beaten but too frightened to identify his attacker, Barbara turns to a former student, now a grown-up detective, to discover the truth.
Disclaimer: I need to make it clear that the events in Beating a Dead Stick did not happen in either of the high schools where I taught: the Pembroke Country Day School in Kansas City or Balboa High School in the Panama Canal Zone. Nor are the characters in the novel based on my former colleagues.