The Secret History is the first novel by Mississippi-born writer Donna Tart.
Set in New England, The Secret History tells the story of a closely-knit group of six classics students at a small, elite Vermont college, similar in many respects to Bennington College (in Bennington, Vermont ) where Tartt was a student from 1982 to 1986. One of the six students is the story's narrator, Richard Papen, who reflects, years later, on the situation that led to a murder within the group, implying such at the outset but otherwise revealing events sequentially.
In the opening chapter, as the reader is introduced to Papen, the death of student Edmund "Bunny" Corcoran is revealed, although few details are given initially. The novel undertakes to explore the circumstances and lasting effects of his murder on an academically and socially isolated group of students attending Hampden College in Vermont.