The Face on the Wall Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Face on the Wall

Homer and Mary Kelly, Harvard professors, are helping their niece Annie get set up in her new home. Annie is a very successful children's author/illustrator with a history of unhappy relationships. She builds a beautiful new addition onto her home, her dream house. Most important to her is a 35 foot wall that she will illustrate with themes from children's literature.
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Her problem is the Gasts, the family that rent the original half of her home. They have an eight-year-old son with Down syndrome, who they patently do not supervise adequately. In fact, their apparent inattentiveness is quite deliberate. They are angry and resentful about having this special needs child.

The little boy, Eddy is found dead, apparently fallen from scaffolding that Annie was using to paint her wall. It appears that he came in through a door that Annie insists she locked. The Gasts sue her, and she agrees to settlement to give up ownership of her home with an agreement that she can lease it. When they break the agreement to tear down Annie's house to build a swimming pool for their manipulative 10-year-old Charlene, Annie, the Kellys, and other friends mobilize in protest to stop the bulldozers.

Meanwhile the Kellys are also looking into the disappearance of a former student of Mary's. She was a battered wife gone missing. They suspect her husband. They track the clues in both cases through newspaper articles, trail tracking of suspects, and their own observations of the people involved to pin down the the two murderers.
The review of this Book prepared by Susan Coffey

Chapter Analysis of The Face on the Wall

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 50%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 10% Tone of story    -   Dry-cynical How difficult to spot villain?    -   Moderately Challenging Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Special suspect?    -   relative Murder of certain profession?    -   lawyer creatures Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   local police w/ IQ of a houseplant    -   "All in the family" murder    -   Proving innocence of very obvious suspect Kind of investigator    -   skilled citizen investigator Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American Unusual characteristics:    -   Super sensitive soggy jelly muffin


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Jane Langton Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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