I’ve started obsessively listening Amazon Originals over the last few weeks. They’re quick and easy listens, and they’re included in my Amazon Prime membership. The first one that I listened to this year was The Princess Game by Soman Chainani. It was my third listen from the Faraway collection, and it was only 53 pages long, meaning it took less than 90 minutes to listen to. Since it was full-cast audio, it was a really pleasant listen.
The most popular girls in school are being murdered. After their murders, their bodies are being arranged into storybook tableaus. For example, one girl, referred to as Cinderella throughout the book, was stabbed by a glass slipper. To find the killer, two police offers go undercover at the high school that the victims go to. One officer, Callum Pederson, goes undercover as a student. The other, Lieutenant Chang, goes undercover as a science teacher.
The story is told in the form of excerpts from interviews with witnesses and suspects. These interviews are mostly with the “princes,” or the young men at the top tier of the high school social pecking order. However, some of the excerpts are from conversations between Pederson and Chang.
As the story goes on, the reader gets to see how Pederson and Chang’s respectively get caught up in the roles they have assumed in the high school.
I noticed . . .
The first thing I really noticed is how young the cop who plays the student is. He’s so young that he’s affected by the approval or disapproval of the “princes.”
I also noticed that the social hierarchy at their school was quite complex. However, if I’m completely honest with myself, I have to admit that the hierarchy is not too different from the high school I attended.
I wondered . . .
This story didn’t have a strong resolution, and the first thing I wondered was what happens next. I was unsettled and uncomfortable and I would have liked more resolution.
I also was wondering about the suspect interviews. Pederson seems to be a part of the interrogation, and I wondered how he was able to do that and continue to pose as a student. I think I was missing something, but I’m not sure what that was.
It reminded me of . . .
I found myself thinking of Knives Out or Murder on the Orient Express. Everyone in the story has motive to commit murder. Also there were suspect interviews in both movies, and that reminded me of this story.
I also thought of High School Musical because of how rigid the social structure is. A big part of High School Musical is the attempt to keep the two teens from mixing outside their normal social groups, and there is an element of this The Princess Game as well.