> Skip to content
  • Published: 18 April 2017
  • ISBN: 9780552777018
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $19.99

Different Class

The impressively versatile Joanne Harris in her psychological thriller mode, at her darkest and most unsettling.

The gripping psychological thriller from Joanne Harris, to follow her bestselling Gentlemen & Players and Blueeyedboy. Perfect for fans of Claire Mackintosh, BA Paris, Paula Hawkins and Tracy Chevalier.

'Crime novel or literary novel? Categories really don't matter; readers will find themselves comprehensively gripped.' Independent
'A cracking psychological thriller' Good Housekeeping

After thirty years at St Oswald's Grammar in North Yorkshire, Latin master Roy Straitley has seen all kinds of boys come and go - the clowns, the rebels, the underdogs, and those he calls his Brodie boys. But every so often there's a boy who doesn't fit the mould. A troublemaker. A boy capable of twisting everything around him. A boy with hidden shadows inside.

With insolvency and academic failure looming, a new broom has arrived at the venerable school, bringing Powerpoint, sharp suits and even sixth form girls to the dusty corridors. But while Straitley does his sardonic best to resist this march to the future, a shadow from his past is stirring. A boy who even twenty years on haunts his teacher's dreams. A boy capable of bad things.

The third in the Malbry Cycle of gripping psychological thrillers - the latest of which is A Narrow Door.

  • Published: 18 April 2017
  • ISBN: 9780552777018
  • Imprint: Black Swan
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $19.99

About the author

Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris’s Whitbread-shortlisted Chocolat was made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is the author of many other bestselling novels, including Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Curé, both also featuring Vianne Rocher, as is her new novel The Strawberry Thief. She has also written acclaimed novels in such diverse genres as fantasy based on Norse myth (Runemarks, Runelight, The Gospel of Loki), and the Malbry cycle of dark psychological thrillers (Gentlemen & Players, Blueeyedboy, and Different Class).

Born in Barnsley, of an English father and a French mother, she spent fifteen years as a teacher before (somewhat reluctantly) becoming a full-time writer. In 2013, she was awarded an MBE. She lives in Yorkshire, plays bass and flute in a band first formed when she was sixteen, and works in a shed in her garden.

Also by Joanne Harris

See all

Praise for Different Class

A masterpiece of misdirection.

Val McDermid

Compellingly suspenseful...both a splendidly dark comedy and a disturbing thriller .

Ramsey Campbell

Terrific twists pile up at a highly satisfying rate...you'll be hooked'.

James Walton, Reader's Digest

A writer with a total command of the psychological thriller idiom...Different Class, subtle and allusive, is Joanne Harris at the top of her game.

Barry Forshaw, Crime Time

Her real metier is psychological suspense, and her accomplished new book, Different Class, is a prime example of her skills in this area . . . Crime novel or literary novel? Categories really don't matter; readers will find themselves comprehensively gripped.


Harris magnificently manages every minute thread of the story, and even makes us laugh along the way . . . exquisitely sinister. . . Part black comedy, part thriller, and totally enjoyable.

Daily Mail

Ms Harris was once a teacher and uses this experience to create a background of great depth and detail.

Saga Magazine

A long way from Chocolat, Joanne Harris's reinvention as a writer of psychological thrillers continues apace...delivers it beautifully.

Mail on Sunday

Slowly, Harris reveals tiny clues, withholding full explanations until the startling denouement. Classy writing, sensitive and moving.

The Times

Harris pulls off an impeccable thriller denouement...consistently entertaining.

John Dugdale, Sunday Times

A cracking psychological thriller that drips with menace...tightly plotted and completely engrossing.

Good Housekeeping

A magnificently plotted and twisty journey to the heart of a 24-year-old crime...darkly humorous...constantly wrongfoots and misdirects...up to a satisfyingly eccentric conclusion.


She does a nice line in witty, psychological thrillers set in the fictional Yorkshire village of Malbry....Excellent.


Joanne Harris is best-known for the France-set novel Chocolat,.But she does a nice line in witty psychological thrillers...Excellent.


Deftly orchestrated and beautifully written tale of abuse, loyalty and regret.


The characterisation is always totally convincing....The denouement is exciting and totally surprising to the reader...a thrilling and unexpected ending.

Crime Review

Tackles big subjects, including teacher-pupil romances, sexual assault, homophobia and murder.You'll love it if...you enjoyed The Girl on the Train so crave another intelligent thriller.

Sunday Telegraph

It's Goodbye, Mr Chips meets The Bad Seed. Joanne Harris' latest has a killer elevator pitch and, what's more, it delivers on its intriguing premise...a rich, dramatic tale that builds to a surprising conclusion.

Washington Post

Related titles