For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing #BookClub #AVirtualCrimeBookClub

You want the absolute best for your child, and everyone agrees that’s Belmont Academy.

Book blurb

At first you were impressed by Mr Crutcher, with his dedication to his students.

But something isn’t right at that school.

It starts with small things . . . A teacher falling sick. Rumours about a former pupil going off the rails. Of course, you never guessed it could end in murder.

And now you have no idea who will be next . . .

My thoughts

Mr Crutcher – Teddy – is a teacher at Belmont School, a private school, he has been made ‘Teacher of the Year’ which he’s very happy about. Teddy has a secret nobody at the school knows. Teddy believes that, because of the very nature of the school, he teaches children that are privileged and have no humility. Indeed, they are arrogant and need, on occasion, to be brought down a peg or two.

Zach is one of his students, Teddy teaches English Literature, and he has been ‘chosen’ for his own good by Teddy to be taught a lesson or two in humility. Zach just thinks Mr Crutcher is picking on him for no good reason and the fact that he has marked his latest paper below his normal A grade is just such an example. Zach parents intervene, as Teddy expected, resulting in Zach having to do extra work.

Teddy also gets annoyed by one of the other teachers, Sonia Benjamin, when she tries to interfere with his discipline of Zach. The extra credit work will mean Zach’s piece for the school newspaper will be a little late being handed in. How could Sonia think that her pet project, the school newspaper, was more important than Teddy’s work? Yet another annoying thing Sonia has done. Teddy has a plan to sort her out!

So the killings begin. One of the parents dies at a soirée given in Sonia’s honour. We readers know who’s done it. It was a mistake. One of the pupils, Courtney, is arrested for it – the murder of her own mother! Are the police incompetent? Well this has really put the cat amongst the pigeons! Courtney is friends with Zach and, despite that fact, liked by Teddy.

Teddy has a lot on his plate sorting things out. Then Sonia dies, yes another murder and in very similar circumstances. So, surely, Courtney has been mistakenly arrested? Surely she will be set free?

When an ex-pupil of Teddy turns up as a temporary replacement for Sonia he is very surprised. Fallon! Yet another thorn in his side!

What a place to be! Belmont School’s reputation is drowning. The police are replaced by the FBI in the investigation. An investigation which we only know about as it is told by Teddy and Zach. They appear to be no better at finding the murderer than the police were.

We also have a teacher, Frank, who has a secret and does something stupid that causes him to believe he may be involved with one of the deaths. What happens results in a breakdown. Frank leaves Belmont and becomes a minister. He becomes suspicious of who the real killer is. What happens next? Will the killer be caught?

Will Zach and Fallon who have both become suspicious of the real murderer be able to find proof? When Zach finally goes to the FBI will they follow up or will the murderer go free whilst there is another death and innocent people are sent to prison?

After expecting a light(-ish) read in December but not quite getting it our choice for January has turned out to be that light, easy read book.

I enjoyed this book. I found the characters quite lightweight but didn’t mind that.

The story’s had two main points of view that of Mr Crutcher and that of Zach. Of the two I preferred Zach. I liked the way the friendship between Zach and Courtney was written. Also, how Zach coped with what was happening through the book.

I thought that it was somewhat far fetched to think that the FBI would not have investigated Zach’s suspicion or, indeed, not found out that they had been misled by false information. For me this lack of crime solving because, of course, we know who the killer is made this less of a crime fiction genre book. Although, I’m not sure quite where it would sit. It also, for me, meant that the final murder should never have been necessary. Indeed, it was rather cruel and maybe a little far fetched to include this scenario. However, others may enjoy that twist.

This was a pleasant sojourn along my reading journey but not one that waylaid me for long.

Book: Purchased

A Virtual Crime Book Club

The book club met on 31 Jan 2022 and discussed For Your Own Good by Samantha Downing. Most readers found the book an entertaining read.

You can view the meeting on the below video. ⚠️ Be aware ⚠️ there are spoilers contained within the video, so if you plan to read the book, maybe don’t watch until afterwards.

The next meeting will be held at 8pm GMT (UK timezone) on Monday 28th February. The theme this month is forensic crime. If you would like to join a crime fiction book club then The Virtual Crime Book Club may be just what you’re looking for. You will need to join the book club to receive login details. Check it out and sign up HERE.


Published: Penguin (H/b: 19 August 2021|P/b: 20 January 2022)

Buy: Penguin U.K. | Hive | (affiliate link) | Waterstones | AmazonSmileUK | |

Author: Samantha Downing was born in the Bay Area, and currently lives in New Orleans. Her debut novel, My Lovely Wife, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and a Sunday Times bestseller, and has been published in thirty languages. It won a Dead Good Reader Award, and was shortlisted for four other major awards: The CWA John Creasey Dagger, The Edgar Award for Best First Novel, The ITW Thriller Award for Best First Novel and The Macavity Award for Best First Mystery. Amazon Studios and Nicole Kidman’s Blossom Films have partnered to produce a feature film based on the novel. Her second novel, He Started It, was also a Sunday Times bestseller.


My Lovely Wife | He Started It | For Your Own Good


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