Member Reviews

One Puzzling Afternoon is kind of a mystery, but kind of not. The story is told by Edie, alternating back and forth between when she first becomes friends with pretty, popular Lucy in 1951, and 2018 when she is increasingly struggling with dementia, which leads her to trying to figure out what happened when Lucy disappeared so many years ago. The reader will figure out that it’s likely Edie has known the entire time what happened, but is in the unique circumstances of an unreliable narrator that both knows and doesn’t know what happened. This is definitely a more creative spin on the unreliable narrator, that also addresses how frustrating it can be for a person that’s losing their memory. In the later timeline Edie goes back and forth between being lucid and being lost, knowing her family and her surroundings and then not knowing how she got somewhere or what time she’s in. The earlier timeline addresses another issue-a relationship between a student and a teacher. While it’s viewed from the student’s side, it’s a reminder that the teacher is the adult and should never be involved in that kind of relationship, not least because the student is highly unlikely to understand the consequences of the situation and will view it in a very different manner. I wish I could say that I got more into it than I did, but I think knowing that Lucy’s disappearance happened almost seventy years in the past took away any sense of urgency to knowing what happened. The whodunnit was interesting, but not terribly unexpected, and by that point kind of felt inevitable to me. A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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One Puzzling Afternoon by Emily Critchley is an interesting mystery. This novel jumps between 1951 and 2018.telling the story of the missing Lucy. I recommend this novel.

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One Puzzling Afternoon tells its story in two timelines:

Back in 1951, fifteen-year-old Edie Green is kind of a loner — until she stumbles upon a secret. And so begins a tenuous friendship with rich and popular Lucy Theddle…until Lucy goes missing.

In 2018, eighty-four year old Edie suddenly sees Lucy standing in the streets looking the same as she looked 67 years ago, she begins a mission to re-open the cold case and find out what happened. But she’s finding it difficult to remember much of anything.

I loved the “vibe” of this book right off the bat, and the dual timeline worked so well for it. The 50s feeling was captured perfectly, especially through the eyes of Edie’s innocence. And following Edie in 2018 as an unreliable narrator was also really intriguing.

The characters were all really unique, with complex (and sometimes frustrating but understandable motivations and emotions). I think the best way to explain it is that there’s a tinge of mysticism around the characters; reading this book feels like reading a fairytale.

Ultimately, the plot was not necessarily mind-blowing — it was pretty easy to predict where the story was going. I don’t think this affected my enjoyment of the book, however, and I still found the 1951 timeline to be the most intriguing to me. I knew, however, that the reveal would come in 2018, and I was excited to see how they would come together.

I did think that the pacing could’ve been tweaked slightly; there are some aspects of Edie’s home life that I would’ve loved to see more of, and I also wish both timelines extended a little longer and Edie’s stories were given more time to wind down.

Still, overall the characters were interesting and the setting was immersive, and I think this was a great read. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of historical, young adult, mystery.

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Excellent story and very well done! I liked the development of this book. The main and supporting characters were interesting. Unique concept delivered very gently and with so much heart. I'd definitely recommend.

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This debut by Emily Critchley is outstanding! She has written a mystery with dual timelines that effortlessly flick back and forth between 1951 and 2018. Edie is eighty four and her brain is slowly diminishing. She knows her friend Lucy disappeared in 1951 and has never been found. She has moments of lucidity and vows to find the answer while she still can. The earlier timeline showcases the time period along with a coming of age story. The characterizations in both years were well done and the alternating timelines kept me interested and wanting to know more. Looking forward to more novels by this author. #OnePuzzlingAfternoon #EmilyCritchley #NetGalley

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One Puzzling Afternoon is a Historical Fiction Mystery featuring time frames of post-war 1951 and the year 2018 set in a small village of Ludthorpe. Edie is fifteen and bit lonely, if not odd. Her mother is a widow and makes ends meet as the local provider of seances. A curious set of circumstances draws Edie to the popular girl, Lucy Theddle. A friendship blooms but suddenly Lucy disappears.

Fast forward to 2018 and Edie is now in her 80's and she is a widow, one grown son and an adored granddaughter. There are a couple of problems, Edie has dementia and she is also seeing her best friend, Lucy, everywhere she goes. As her mind fights hard to untangle the events of that afternoon nearly 70 years ago, her family becomes more concerned about her mental and physical welfare.

A lovely and heartbreaking tale of missed chances and life without do overs. A woman's place in the world is deftly weaved into the story that finds Edie and Lucy at the mercy of 1950's standards for women both wealthy and those less so. Dreams of futures with and without fathers and husbands and freedom to make choices.

A wonderful read for both historical fiction and/or mystery lovers. I highly recommend this one.


4.25 Stars

Thank you to Sourcebooks for access to an early e-copy via Netgalley. All opinions are mine.

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I very much enjoyed ‘One Puzzling Afternoon’, the swapping from one decade to the other was regular enough to keep up and not frequent enough to be annoying. This was very well done in order to tell the story of Edie and Lucy.
I am positive this will be a very popular book and I will certainly be recommending it to our patrons.

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Such a nice cozy mystery! While a lot of the typical mysteries I read are darker thrillers, this was a nice change of pace. I loved the alternating timelines and unreliable narrator! Definitely created a unique perspective. Very well written!

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Read about a third of the book - interesting yet not compelling enough to keep me hooked when I received other books to read.

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First, thank you to the publisher and author for providing me with a digital ARC of this title via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

I started reading this with no expectations or even an idea of what it was about, other than guesses from the title. It was a nice surprise to find a story so unlike others I have been reading. An elderly woman in early stages of dementia who starts having flashbacks to her youth and a friend that went missing. She believes that if she can only remember what is right there lurking in her memory, that maybe she can help solve her friend's disappeance. I wasn't sure if it was her imagination, her addled view of her memories, or if she really had pushed down deep some truths that were starting to resurface. Enjoyable read, nice twists and characters to help move the story in both timelines.

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After the initial pages, I found myself not connecting with the story or characters, so I decided to pass on this book. Did not finish

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What a detailed,sad, mysterious story of a woman who lost her best friend over sixty years passed, and now; well into her eighties is fighting to remember her companion.
Edie does know that Lucy had gone missing long ago and yet with her dementia progressing, is unable to recall where she last saw Lucy or what has happened to her.
She is positive she saw Edie one day at the post office in present day, yet can that possibly be?
Can she solve this long ago mystery before she is unable?

I loved the way this novel is told in alternating timelines. It allows the reader to see what transpired before when the girls were young and then in the present day to create this journey and drama for Edie.
It is well done and definitely shows the progression of this horrid disease that tortures so many people.
I thank #NetGalley and #SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for this ARC and allowing me to read and provide my own review.
I will be looking for more of this author to read!

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Totally not the story I thought it was. I usually enjoy an unreliable narrator and a past based mystery story, but I had expected the story was going a different way. Ultimately, I am not the reader for this book, but I'm sure there are others who will enjoy.

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“One Puzzling Afternoon” isbn Emily Critchley. This book follows Edie, a woman in her 80s, trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of her friend Lucy. This book is told in two timelines - one following 1951 (when Lucy disappeared) and the other in 2018, when Edie is in her 80s and battling memory loss. As I had a parent suffering from dementia, I found that part of the story to be well researched - and it was treated with care - but at times it seemed more like a plot device. I found this book to move very slowly at times, although at times that seemed to add to the tension of the overall story. I did not find myself liking too many of the characters - even Edie - and figured out what possibly happened pretty early into the read of the book. I cannot say this was an enjoyable book - meaning that reading about dementia’s effects on people is never a warm story - but it was an interesting idea. I wanted to like this book more than I did as I found the premise very different, but I found myself skimming in a number of places. I can see this book being a good one for a book club discussion as there are a number of topics to discuss. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

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Emily Critchley’s One Puzzling Afternoon is a heartbreaking book. While it’s a mystery, it also tells of Edie Green Havercraft’s dementia, and the reader watches it grow worse in the course of the book. It’s difficult to read at times.

In 2018, Edie “sees” Lucy Theddle. She doesn’t remember what secret Lucy had, but she does remember that she kept Lucy’s secret for sixty-seven years, and never told anyone. Now, she’s desperate to discover what happened to Lucy.

In 1951, Edie Green was a lonely fifteen-year-old. She lived with her widowed mother who embarrassed Edie by holding seances. It wasn’t any easier when her mother dated and then married Reggie Drake. He wanted Edie to drop out of school and work to earn her keep. Edie was never comfortable around Reggie.

When Lucy Theddle befriended her, Edie’s life changed. Lucy was the daughter of the mayor of Ludthorpe, a privileged girl. Suddenly, Lucy’s friends could no longer pick on Edie. Lucy met Edie and walked to school with her. Lucy has secrets, and Edie doesn’t approve of them. But, she’s desperate for a friend, so she keeps Lucy’s secrets. Then, one day Lucy disappears. The police search for her, and even question Edie. She can keep a secret, though.

Now, in 2018, when Edie claims she’s seen Lucy, just as she looked in 1951, Edie’s family brushes it off. Edie tends to get muddled. There are times she doesn’t remember where she lives, or doesn’t remember her granddaughter’s name. As Edie’s dementia gets worse, her determination to find Lucy grows. She thinks the clues to Lucy’s disappearance are within her, and, if she can find those answers, all her confusion might disappear.

While Edie does eventually uncover the truth about Lucy’s disappearance, it’s just one more tragedy. For me, as a reader, I found Edie’s dementia to be the true tragedy of the book. It’s not easy to watch her struggle. It’s not easy to watch her family cope with Edie’s memory loss and her occasional rages when she knows she doesn’t remember. There’s so much more than just One Puzzling Afternoon in this book.

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One Puzzling Afternoon, by Emily Critchley, has a dual timeline. The protagonist and narrator, Edie is 15 years old in 1951, and is an elderly woman with dementia in 2018. This book was a struggle to read. The dual timelines are easily determined, since Critchley labels each chapter with the year the events take place. In 1951, Edie is a shy, lonely teenager, whose mother is a Medium, who speaks with the dead. Edie's mother is a source of constant embarrassment for her daughter and is the reason that Edie is the target of bullies and has only one friend. In 2018, Edie is an unreliable narrator, whose mind is fuzzy and often unfocused. The premise 0f One Puzzling Afternoon is Edie's attempt to remember what happened to her friend in 1951.

Four members of my family--my mother, her two brothers, and one aunt--have died from Alzheimers. I think that is why I struggled with this novel. Watching a person lose the essence of whom they are is a tough read for anyone. On one hand, Critchley does a superb job of describing the confusion and anger that besets dementia patients. Alternately, readers have to put together the sparse clues to determine the solution of the mystery that Edie seeks to solve. I had the mystery solved long before Edie solved it.

There are reasons to recommend One Puzzling Afternoon. The picture of the eroding personhood of dementia is a powerful and well described journey. But for some reasons and for some people, this is a book that can also be painful to read. There is no doubt that Critchley is a strong effective writer, but in spite of her talent, I was very relieved to finish this novel.

I do want to thank the author and publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark, for providing this ARC for me to read and review. I understand dementia better from the patient's point of view, but for some readers, a trigger warming is appropriate. Thank you also to NetGalley for making this novel so easy to access.

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While the title, One Puzzling Afternoon, seems an odd title for a book covering a handful of weeks, Emily Critchley does a masterful job of not only showing both 1951 and capturing an 80-year-old woman's confused memories of the time when her best friend went missing and her attempt 67 years later to discover the truth. I'll be looking for more from Emily.

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This was definitely a hard one to read - not because of the prose, but the subject matter.
We're living through our protagonist, Edie in two different times. 2018, where she's an older woman with dementia, and 1951, when she's a young girl and her friend has gone missing.

As the clock ticks down in 2018, as Edie's dementia becomes worse and her family is going to move her out of her hometown, Edie is running out of time to remember what happened to her friend, Lucy. The author did a beautiful job of showing us how Edie's dementia was worsening, blending her confusion of the current world with the past that the reader just read about.

Honestly, this one did bring tears a few times here and there, in Edie's present day as she was losing her memories. A solid read if you don't mind shedding a few tears.

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I really enjoyed this story. The present day and past were easy to tell the difference and understand. The characters were all likable and easy to understand their point of view (even if I didn't agree with them all the time.)
When it all came together at the end, it was a bit sad. But overall an enjoyable story to follow along !

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This book by Emily Critchley has a dual timeline, looking to the past of 1951 and the "present" of 2018, when the protagonist--Edie--is in her 80s. In addition, she is suffering from a progressively worsening dementia, which I have to say I don't think I've ever read a book where the protagonist is in such mental decline. It's definitely an interesting premise! My grandfather had Alzheimer's, and the constant worry and fretting of the family when Edie would get out and go to random places and would have sudden outbursts of temper were certainly very familiar to me. Kudos to the author for portraying that so well.

The plot of the novel is that Edie has seen her friend Lucy one day while in town--but that can't be possible, as she disappeared 60 years ago. Worse still, Lucy looked precisely as she did all those decades ago. Now Edie has recalled the horrible occurrence and is on a mission to piece together what happened to Lucy and bring peace to her before she has forgotten her entirely.

It is a quick read, but I only really found Lucy as well as Edie and her immediate family of any real interest or possessing great depth in the story. People who enjoy reading about the (fairly recent) past as well as crime/mystery would probably enjoy this book.

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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