Break and Enter


208 pages
ISBN 0-439-98989-2
DDC jC813'.54





Susannah D. Ketchum, a former teacher-librarian at the Bishop Strachan
School in Toronto, serves on the Southern Ontario Library Services


Break and Enter is Norah McClintock’s fourth mystery to feature Chloe
Yan, a reluctant transplant from big-city Montreal to backwoods East
Hastings, Ontario. Someone is trying to get Chloe into trouble, planting
crib notes under her desk during a test and framing her for acts of
vandalism. As Chloe tries to solve the problems, she finds herself mixed
up in a murder—and in great danger.

McClintock uses the first-person narrative effectively to establish
Chloe’s rather brash personality: “This was an eat-your-broccoli
moment—I wasn’t going to be allowed to leave the table until I’d
choked down the green stuff on

my plate.” Other characters, including several dumb, lecherous jocks
and their “assorted female hangers-on,” are often one-dimensional.
However, teen readers will probably enjoy the stereotypical teachers who
populate Chloe’s school. Mr. Green has “the personality of a parking
enforcement officer” and “zero sense of humour, so it wouldn’t
surprise me if he ended up as a vice-principal.” Ms. Peters, a
“control freak,” has a putdown for every objection her hapless
students try to raise.

Despite the occasional lexical infelicity (e.g., “nauseous” for
nauseated, and “like” used incorrectly a few times), McClintock
writes well. Chloe, not originally a nature lover, is beginning to
discover the pleasures of the outdoors, and many readers will enjoy her
descriptions of “inhaling the fragrance of cedar and pine, my eyes
filled with dozens of hues of green from pine needles and beech leaves
and oak leaves and ferns and moss.”

Although the resolutions of both mysteries require a little too much
suspension of disbelief, Break and Enter is an enjoyable thriller.


McClintock, Norah., “Break and Enter,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 21, 2024,