Cornelia Read's "The Crazy School" is about a school named ‘The Santangelo Academy’. This Therapeutic boarding school opens in 1989 in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. The academy's pupils are disturbed teenagers, many of whom have been released from psychiatric hospitals and are currently taking medication to keep them on an even keel.
A twenty-six year old Madeline Dare obtains a position as a history teacher in the academy. Although she cares about her students, the stress of the job is getting to her. The kids curse and throw things, make suggestive remarks, and show little respect for themselves, let alone authority figures.
Headmaster David Santangelo runs this academy with an iron fist allowing no room for mistakes; offenders are sent to "the farm" for punishment.
Madeline does not enjoy the school environment but she still works as she needs the money to keep them afloat because her husband lost his job. She also does not like the twice weekly sessions that every teacher must attend under the direction of Sookie, a therapist who is well-meaning but incredibly cloying. In addition, since cigarettes and caffeine are banned on campus, Madeline sneaks around to grab some smokes and guzzle caffeinated beverages with her pal and fellow teacher, Lulu.
Madeline's worried student Mooney LeChance informs her that his girlfriend, Fay Perry is pregnant. Although she knows she is expected to report this to Mr. Santangelo, Madeline agrees to keep the couple's revelation secret. However, Mooney and Fay die after drinking party punch. When two of them are found dead, the police arrest Dare as she allegedly prepared the poisoned drink. Now she finds herself framed for their murder and fighting for her own life.
THE CRAZY SCHOOL is an interesting amateur sleuth murder mystery that reads like two novels in one. The first part of the book provides insight into those at the Santangelo Academy as if the story line is an exposé character study of the negative elements of a private school. Somewhere towards the middle of the novel, the plot veers into a murder mystery. Although distinct, the parts ultimately blend together as Dare dares to prove her innocence while exposing A FIELD OF DARKNESS that engulfs the school