Neil Alexander: The Vanishing Of Margaret Small

This review is written with thanks to Tracy Fenton for the opportunity to read and review The Vanishing Of Margaret Small and to the publisher for my copy of the book.


Meet Margaret Small: 75, plain spoken, Whitstable native and a Cilla Black super fan. Shortly after the death of her idol, Margaret begins receiving sums of money in the post, signed simply ‘C’.

She is convinced it must be Cilla, but how can it be? To solve the mystery of her benefactor Margaret must go back in her memories almost 70 years, to the time when she was ‘vanished’ to a long-stay institution for children with learning disabilities.

An absorbing and page-turning mystery with a dual timeline, The Vanishing of Margaret Small takes readers into a fascinating past, and introduces an unforgettable literary heroine.


I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from The Vanishing Of Margaret Small when I started reading, but I was absolutely not prepared for such an emotional ride. This blogger does not cry at books, but, reader, I cried, I laughed, I was angry, I was happy, I was sad, all within the space of 325 pages and I loved every second. 

Our protagonist and narrator is Margaret Small. The author has captured her personality and emotions so well and I felt as though I really got to know Margaret well. She’s a wonderful character and I found myself wishing I could help her myself. 

The timeline of The Vanishing Of Margaret Small switches between the late 1960s and early 1970s and 2015. At the beginning, it’s not immediately obvious why, but as the story develops, it becomes much clearer and I realised just how clever the plotting is. 

I’ve never read a story quite like this and it is clear that the author has done a massive amount of research which he has used really effectively in the novel. I was aware of some of the treatment of people in institutions, but to see it laid bare and written down really brought it home to me. 
The Vanishing Of Margaret Small is a debut novel and I can see that the author has a huge amount of potential. I can’t wait to see what he does next!

The Vanishing Of Margaret Small is available from Amazon.

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