The Night in Question – Susan Fletcher | Book Review | #TheNightInQuestion | @sfletcherauthor @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours

Florence Butterfield has lived an extraordinary life full of travel, passion and adventure. But, at eighty-seven, she suspects there are no more surprises to come her way.

Then, one midsummer’s night, something terrible happens – so strange and unexpected that Florrie is suspicious. Was this really an accident, or is she living alongside a would-be murderer?

The only clue is a magenta envelope, discarded earlier that day.

And Florrie – cheerfully independent but often overlooked – is the only person determined to uncover the truth.

As she does, Florrie finds herself looking back on her own life . . . and a long-buried secret, traced in faded scars across her knuckles, becomes ever harder to ignore.

Readers of Elizabeth is Missing, Small Pleasures or Dear Mrs Bird will love prize-winning author Susan Fletcher’s The Night in Question – an absorbing and uplifting novel with a uniquely loveable protagonist at its heart.

Publisher: Bantam/Transworld
Format: Ebook, Audio and Hardback (18 April 2024) with Paperback to follow
Source: Copy to review


My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the tour invite and to the publisher for the copy to review. In March I was delighted to be invited to PRH’s London offices at Embassy Gardens for a meet and greet with author Susan Fletcher and with a small group of fellow bloggers spent a morning learning how to make a dried flower display, courtesy of the two lovely ladies from The Happy Blossoms. It was such an enjoyable event (I still have my flowers, pictured below, on display on my desk).

87 year old Florence Butterfield is the focus of this story. A horrific accident lost her a leg and and living in her home is no longer possible with a wheelchair. So that she has her independence but also support she moves into Babbington Hall, which offers residential and assisted living near Oxford.

Florrie was a wonderful character and I adored her. Hers was a life well lived – and loved. Despite her travels and adventures not to mention the men who had been enthralled by her, she had her sadness in life. The loss of her older brother Robert had never left her and inspired her to live her life to the full for the both of them, but something which caused her the most anguish was ‘the Hackney business’ which resulted in her hands being badly scarred. Although often alluded to, the reader does not immediately know the background, but is just aware that it is something that has shaped Florrie’s life and caused the most pain. Only one person knew Florrie’s secret and she cannot tell.

Despite its peaceful and unassuming setting, Babbington Hall is a hotbed of mystery. Two incidents, neither of which are officially regarded as suspicious unsettle Florrie. Using the limited means available to her, she becomes an amateur sleuth, quietly determined to discover the truth and to right wrongs. After all, she is a policeman’s daughter.

Florrie’s life is told alongside the mystery at Babbington Hall. The book is beautifully written and there are so many fabulous characters, both in Florrie’s past and her present. Her childhood friend Pinky Topham, was fun but most importantly loyal; friendship, and the need for it, was very much a theme in the story. Everyone needs a Pinky in their life. Magda the Polish carer with her skull tattoos and Stanhope Jones, a cultured and charming man were just a few of my favourites. I even had a soft spot for the gossipy Ellwood sisters.

It would have been easy to dismiss Florrie as being of no consequence and thus invisible. She may have been disabled in body but her mind was as sharp as a tack and it would be a big mistake to underestimate this cheerful octogenarian.

The Night in Question is just a wonderful story. It has heart and warmth with characters that I cared for. Reflective, mysterious and captivating, I loved it and It will be one of my favourite books of the year.

Susan Fletcher was born in Birmingham and studied English Literature at the University of York.  Whilst taking the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, she began her first novel, Eve Green, which won the Whitbread First Novel Award (2004) and Betty Trask Prize (2005). Since then, Susan has written seven novels – whilst also supplementing her writing through various roles, including as a barperson, a cheesemonger and a warden for an archaeological excavation site near Hadrian’s Wall. Most recently, she has been a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Worcester.

She lives in Warwickshire.

Follow the author: X/Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | AmazonUK


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