Book Awards - Fiction - Mystery - TMR Starred Reviews

The Night In Question by Susan Fletcher

Eighty-seven-year-old Florrie Butterfield has lived an exotic life of travel and adventure, but when the loss of one leg leaves her wheelchair-bound, she settles into that slow decline that is assisted care living for the elderly: parked, often forgotten. Her little snug flat, a lush English garden, a spinster, a reclusive Manager – who lets Florrie in on the secret that she is in love – and an unexpected new friend, allows the elderly but spunky octogenarian to retain her zest for life. But when tragedy strikes, the tranquil beauty of the former manor house and its grounds does not hide what she suspects is a shocking attempted murder. Ever the policeman’s daughter, Florrie takes on an investigation that will force her to look back at her own life, loves, and deep scars – both literal and figurative – which she’s covered and protected for seven decades. A woman both sunny and open, and intensely private, can she solve this mystery and at what cost to herself?  

“This book is a big cozy couch, a cup of tea, and a slice of rich, dark chocolate cake.”

This book is a big cozy couch, a cup of tea, and a slice of rich, dark chocolate cake. On the surface the setting could not be more stereotypically and timelessly English: a peaceful, solid, ancient stone church; a lush garden filled with flowers and bees; a stately home overflowing with portraits of long-dead landowners; gossipy “sisters” who think they know everything that goes on; and a murder mystery that begs for Agatha Christie to help solve. Yet, the vicar is a tattooed, former-bar-bouncer and Florrie’s favourite nurse is a terse, Goth immigrant with her own skeletons. Florrie, too, has deep, dark, painful secrets that swim beneath her sunny surface, secrets she has told no one, but she fears may spill out. As she searches for the truth of what is happening under the noses of the residents of Baddington Hall Residential Home, she looks back at her life and losses, and the six men she loved. 

The Night In Question is emotionally rich with brilliant, evocative prose. Its characters, especially Florrie, are nuanced and breathtakingly real. Fletcher expertly treads a delicate balance between the overly sweet and sentimental, and the bleakness of emotional torment. Her novel goes far beyond a “mere” cosy mystery to explore love in all its forms, death, dying, and finding forgiveness. Through it all run threads of women’s relationships – with their mothers, daughters, friends, lovers – and what it means for women to find a place in their own lives, at all stages of their lives. It is thought-provoking, profound and insightful, slowly revealing, layer by layer, the depths that dwell under a seemingly simple surface. It is a book both exquisitely beautiful and unforgettably poignant.


About the Author

SUSAN FLETCHER is a British novelist. Susan is the current Fellow at the University of Worcester as part of the Royal Literary Fund’s fellowship scheme. She lives in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Doubleday Canada (April 2 2024)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 440 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0385698127
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0385698122

Heather McBriarty is an author, lecturer and Medical Radiation Technologist based in Saint John, NB. Her love of reading and books began early in life, as did her love of writing, but it was the discovery of old family correspondence that led to her first non-fiction book, Somewhere in Flanders: Letters from the Front, and a passion for the First World War. She has delivered lectures to the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, NB Genealogy Society, and Western Front Association (Central Ontario Branch), among others, on the war. Heather’s first novel of the “Great War”, Amid the Splintered Trees, was launched in November 2021.

Heather McBriarty

Heather McBriarty is an author, lecturer and Medical Radiation Technologist based in Saint John, NB. Her love of reading and books began early in life, as did her love of writing, but it was the discovery of old family correspondence that led to her first non-fiction book, Somewhere in Flanders: Letters from the Front, and a passion for the First World War. She has delivered lectures to the Royal Nova Scotia Historical Society, NB Genealogy Society, and Western Front Association (Central Ontario Branch), among others, on the war. Heather’s first novel of the “Great War”, Amid the Splintered Trees, was launched in November 2021.