The Rag and Bone Shop Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Rag and Bone Shop

A 7-year-old girl named Alicia has been brutally murdered -- pounded in the head with a rock -- in the woods near Monument, Massachusetts. Twelve-year-old Jason Dorrant, a friend of Alicia's, is the prime suspect because he was the last person known to have seen her alive, although there's no physical evidence to tie him to the crime. There's heavy pressure to arrest a suspect, partly because the victim was a friend of Senator Gibbons's daughter, so the local police bring in Trent, a Vermont detective with a reputation as a crack interrogator who always lands a confession.
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Trent is undeniably good, and a confession will surely advance his career with the help of Senator Gibbons. But Trent also despises himself because he may be TOO good at getting people to admit guilt, even when they may not be guilty. In his mind he can hear the warnings of his wife Lottie, sadly killed in an auto accident 18 months before, as he works on Jason. Most of the story consists of Trent's careful and sympathetic questioning of the boy in order to land a confession. This novel was Cormier's final book, completed shortly before his death.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of The Rag and Bone Shop

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Moderately Challenging Time/era of story:    -   1980's-1999 What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   70% Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards family/friends Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a kid Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast Small town?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Unusual forms of death    -   blunt clubbing (like seals) Unusual form of death?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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