by Alan Cook
The Hayloft: a 1950s mystery features bobby sox, slow dancing,
the communist conspiracy, bomb shelters—and murder. Within two
weeks after starting his senior year of high school, Gary
Blanchard finds himself kicked out of one school and attending
another—the school where his cousin, Ralph, mysteriously died six
months before. Ralph’s death was labeled an accident, but when
Gary talks to people about it, he gets suspicious.
Did Ralph fall from the auditorium balcony, or was he pushed? Had
he found a diamond necklace, talked about by cousins recently
arrived from England that was supposedly stolen from Dutch
royalty by a common ancestor and lost for generations? What
about the principal with an abnormal liking for boys? And are
Ralph’s ex-girlfriends telling everything they know?
Gary has a talent that helps him “get in good” with a couple of the
key girls in his new school’s social/political machine, the
powerful Sylvia and the beautiful Natalie. This comes in handy
for his quest to find out how Ralph really died. And Ed, his more
distant cousin from England who also attends the school, seems to
know a lot about Ralph and the lost necklace. It doesn’t hurt that
Ed has a pretty younger sister named Kate—or does it?
Things go awry when the father of one of the students is questioned
about his ties to communist organizations. The fallout from this
upsets the balance of power within the school and could even get
Gary thrown out of his second school within a few weeks. Key
scenes take place in the hayloft of the barn on the farm where
Gary is staying with his aunt and uncle—Ralph’s parents. What
happens in that hayloft will affect Gary for the rest of his
life—if he survives.
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