The Broken Teaglass

The Broken Teaglass

Book - 2009
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The dusty files of a venerable dictionary publisher . . . a hidden cache of coded clues . . . a story written by a phantom author . . . an unsolved murder in a gritty urban park--all collide memorably in Emily Arsenault's magnificent debut, at once a teasing literary puzzle, an ingenious suspense novel, and an exploration of definitions: of words, of who we are, and of the stories we choose to define us.

In the maze of cubicles at Samuelson Company, editors toil away in silence, studying the English language, poring over new expressions and freshly coined words--all in preparation for the next new edition of the Samuelson Dictionary. Among them is editorial assistant Billy Webb, just out of college, struggling to stay awake and appear competent. But there are a few distractions. His intriguing coworker Mona Minot may or may not be flirting with him. And he's starting to sense something suspicious going on beneath this company's academic facade.

Mona has just made a startling discovery: a trove of puzzling citations, all taken from the same book, The Broken Teaglass . Billy and Mona soon learn that no such book exists. And the quotations from it are far too long, twisting, and bizarre for any dictionary. They read like a confessional, coyly hinting at a hidden identity, a secret liaison, a crime. As Billy and Mona ransack the office files, a chilling story begins to emerge: a story about a lonely young woman, a long-unsolved mystery, a moment of shattering violence. And as they piece together its fragments, the puzzle begins to take on bigger personal meaning for both of them, compelling them to redefine their notions of themselves and each other.

Charged with wit and intelligence, set against a sweetly cautious love story, The Broken Teaglass is a tale that will delight lovers of words, lovers of mysteries, and fans of smart, funny, brilliantly inventive fiction.

From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: New York : Delacorte Press, 2009
ISBN: 9780553807332
Branch Call Number: Mystery
Characteristics: 370 p. ; 22 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Oct 09, 2013


larka13 Nov 14, 2011

Although an interesting premise, the characters were not likable enough to invest the time in reading this book.

Feb 20, 2011

A clever mystery for word nerds. Clues to a decades-old crime are hidden in the dusty files of a dictionary publisher. Main characters Billy and Mona must piece them together bit by bit to discover just what happened -- and to whom. Well-written and well-plotted.

Oct 04, 2010

The world of the lexicographers is an interesting setting for this novel and the clues to a mystery found in the definitions of the words is a unique device. Although the central character Billy was interesting and one had the sense that he had a secret, Mona was not as likeable a character. The Novel was also slow moving at times.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at TCCL

To Top