Emily Critchley: One Puzzling Afternoon

This review is written with thanks to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read and review One Puzzling Afternoon.


On a suburban street filled with secrets, 84 year old Edie Green must look back into the past to discover what happened to her friend Lucy, who went missing years before . . .

I kept your secret Lucy. I’ve kept it for more than sixty years . . .

It is 1951, and at number six Sycamore Street fifteen-year-old Edie Green is lonely. Living alone with her eccentric mother – who conducts seances for the local Ludthorpe community – she is desperate for something to shake her from her dull, isolated life.

When the popular, pretty Lucy Theddle befriends Edie, she thinks all her troubles are over. But Lucy has a secret, one Edie is not certain she should keep . . .

Then Lucy goes missing.

2018. Edie is eighty-two and still living in Ludthorpe. When one day she glimpses Lucy Theddle, still looking the same as she did at fifteen, her family write it off as one of her many mix ups. There’s a lot Edie gets confused about these days. A lot she finds difficult to remember. But what she does know is this: she must find out what happened to Lucy, all those years ago . . .


I have to admit, I signed up to read One Puzzling Afternoon on a whim, but it’s easily the best book I’ve read on the platform this year. 

The narrator of One Puzzling Afternoon is Edie, and the novel is set over two time frames: 1951, when she is a teenager and 2018, when she is an octogenarian. For different reasons, Edie’s age in both time frames means she may not be completely reliable, but I took her to my heart and I really wanted to know her story, which became more intriguing as the novel went on. The other characters in the novel are also really well developed, particularly in the earlier timeline. Unlike the reader, Edie doesn’t always see their true motives and this means they weren’t always likeable. This makes them suspects in Lucy’s disappearance and I enjoyed trying to solve the disappearance alongside Edie. 

In 2018, Edie is having issues with her memory. This aspect of Edie’s life is researched incredibly well and will really strike a chord with readers who have relatives in a similar situation. Some scenes are absolutely heartbreaking, but they made me root for Edie even more. 

I’ve noticed that Emily Critchley has a few previous books and I will definitely be checking those out too. 

One Puzzling Afternoon is available from Amazon.

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