My 2019 pre-bingo read and actually a fairly decent start into the game. And yes, this is “the” James Hilton of Goodbye Mr. Chips and Lost Horizon — actually, in a number of ways this book was probably Hilton’s dry run for Goodbye Mr. Chips.
Hilton’s protagonist jokingly describes writing a novel a young Oxbridge graduate’s rite of passage, and that may very well have been what was at work with Hilton himself here, too, tapping into the interwar period’s craze for mysteries to boot. It’s a good thing he eventually decided to leave the “mystery” bit behind — but what really does stand out in this book is the very well-crafted public school atmosphere.
(For those who are interested, this book was originally published under the pseudonym Glen Trevor, and later also republished with the somewhat spoilery title Murder at School.)