The Night in Question

The Night in Question Dot Allbones Was The Youngest Of Her Large Midlands Family With No Beauty, And Few Prospects, She Was Lucky To Discover A Lucrative Talent She Can Make People Laugh Now The Queen Of London S Music Hall Stage, Dot Feels She S Not Done Badly She Has Her Audience, Her Independence, And Enough Money For Champagne A Good Life Pretty, Popular Orphan Kate Eddowes Was An Unlikely Childhood Friend For Dot The Older Girl S Beauty Was Bound To Take Her Places, And Sure Enough Kate Soon Left, Lured Away By Love And The Prospect Of Adventure A Chance Encounter On A London Street Years Later Makes It Clear That Kate S Life Has Not Gone According To Plan Though Poor And Alone, She Retains Her Indomitable Spirit But This Is Whitechapel In , And The Shadowy Streets Are No Place For A Desperate Woman To WanderWith Her Inimitable Sharpness And Wry Wit, Laurie Graham Brings To Life The Bustling Pleasures And Not So Hidden Dangers Of Life In A Crowded City With Its Extremes Of Poverty And Wealth And All The While, In The Shadows, Lurks The Lacerating Threat Of The Ripper

The Future Homemakers of America and its sequel,

❮PDF❯ ✭ The Night in Question  ✩ Author Laurie Graham –
  • Hardcover
  • 368 pages
  • The Night in Question
  • Laurie Graham
  • 24 July 2018
  • 9781782069744

10 thoughts on “The Night in Question

  1. says:

    Miss Dot Allbones is a comic who lives in Victoria Park, but spent her childhood years in Wolverhampton Once married, Dot is now an independent woman she enjoys the friendship of amorous journalist Tom Bullen, the company of her young lodger, Valentine St John, and the warm familiar comfort of her relationship with manager Monty Hyams Dot s only real concern is that once she has left the bright stage and emerged into the dark, London night, one of the three men she shares her life with are able to escort her home because, although she does not really like to admit it, returning to her house alone at night makes her a little nervous In fact, Dot Allbones is a sensible lady to be concerned, because this novel is set in the London of 1888 and a notorious serial killer is about to emerge from the shadows and terrorise the district of Whitechapel, close to where Dot makes her living.I have long enjoyed Laurie Graham s novels and the characters she creates, but I really think she has surpassed herself with the warm and witty Dot Allbones Self disparaging, always humorous and kind hearted, Dot embraces her life and smiles at her faults, while accepting any compliment with grace Of course, Dot is the central character in a novel about Jack the Ripper and, through her eyes, and the characters she interacts with, we hear about the events of that year as they unfold This is a fictional account of Jack the Ripper and, although well researched, the characters themselves obviously have their own theories and ideas about who is to blame for the killings.Through the young singer, Valentine St John, we are introduced to Dr Frank Townsend American herbalist who lodges in Whitechapel whilst engaged in commerce at the warehouses Meanwhile, Monty Hyams is one of a number of local men who set up vigilante committees to help patrol the streets and Tom Bullen is also chasing the story for his newspaper We are also introduced to a childhood friend of Dot, called Kate, who has fallen on hard times and whom Dot tries her best to help Dot is a wonderful character, who views everybody with sympathy and consideration When approached by Kate, she does not judge her for being the worse for drink, or living an itinerant lifestyle, but muses on the way life can take a wrong turn, or luck can turn bad Her view is always, there but for the grace of God go I, and so she leads us through this novel without any sense of judgement.Not only is this a wonderful read, full of great characters and fantastic, deadpan humour, but it is a great portrait of London during the time of the Ripper We have the music halls, the doss houses, the dark alleys and atmosphere in abundance As the crimes are uncovered, the city is full of rumours and panic As the author leads us deftly towards the end of the book, she makes her own conclusions and you may agree, or disagree, with them but I happily allowed a little artistic fictional license and was perfectly happy to simply go on the journey with the excellent Miss Allbones Despite the subject matter, this was a superbly enjoyable novel and would make an ideal choice for book clubs, with so much to discuss Lastly, I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  2. says:

    I have had a lovely time, meeting Miss Dot Allbones, in London, in the late 1880s.She was a music hall performer, a singer and a comedienne, and I warmed to her from the start I learned that she had risen from humble beginnings, in the Midlands that she had been encouraged when she showed signs of talent at a very young age and, though she had been married, she was happy that she could support herself in her own home in Victoria Park.That isn t to say that she didn t enjoy the company of men she enjoyed an intimate relationship with journalist Tom Bullen she got on well with her young lodger, rising artiste Valentine St John and she had a warm, professional relationship with her long time manager, Monty Hyams She appreciated her good fortune, and she always looked after her friends She liked to be appreciated and she was concerned that as she got older she was being pushed a little further down the bill than she had been but she knew was fortunate, and that others were much less fortunate through no fault of their own.Dot was warm and outgoing, she was witty and self deprecating she was excellent company, and her voice always rang true.It s been a long time since I read Laurie Graham, but I remember that she often drops a fictional character into a well know story from the past, and that what she has done again here.In East London, not so very far away, brutal killings, that would be attributed to Jack the Ripper, had begun Everyone was talking about it Dot always made sure that she had an escort to take her home after her nightly performance Tom was much busier that usual, chasing stories Monty joined a group of men who would patrol the streets at night.Dot was particularly worried about Kate, a childhood friend she had met for the first time in years She went out of her way to help her, and her help had been much appreciated But Dot knew that Kate was too fond of a drink I appreciated that Dot had the sense to give things, and to give her time, rather than money I loved that when her friends were critical, she pointed out that they came from the same place and it was just that she s been lucky and Kate hadn t though there was actually a little to it than that and I really loved that she stood up for women who went with men, pointing out that most of them only did it because they had no other way of getting the money they desperately needed to pay for food and shelter.She was also concerned about Valentine s American friend, Dr Frank Townsend Valentine was clearly very taken with him, but he was unwilling to step forward when a medical man was needed, he was vague about exactly what it was he did, and Dot was sure that something was amiss, though she couldn t quite say what.All of this plays out beautifully The characterisation is marvellous, the evocation of time and place is exactly hat it should be, and the story is clearly underpinned by careful research into the music hall, into 19th century London life, and into the Ripper case.Because one of the killings sends shockwaves through Dot s circle of friends.I only knew the broad history, but when I went to look up a few specifics I found that Laurie Graham had fitted her own story around the real history very cleverly indeed She takes just a little artistic licence, but nothing that I felt was unreasonable.The tone changes a little in the latter part of the story, inevitably, given what had happened, and it works very well The story needed a change of gear, and that change of gear made me realise how caught up I was, with Dot and her world.I wondered if the ending would be effective given that the real history had no real conclusion but it was Some things changed, and some things stayed the same I could pull out some minor niggles about pacing, about one or two plot developments being a little too clearly signposted, about one or two attitudes being a little too modern but they were no than niggles As a whole, the book worked very well indeed.This was a wonderfully engaging and entertaining story I loved the way it balance the darker side of life with humour and I loved meeting all of the people and stepping into their world for a little while.

  3. says:

    Told from the perspective of a theatre hall artiste, Dot Allbones, the readers are taken on a journey through the streets of London in 1888, as the police fruitlessly try to keep up with, what would be later dubbed, the Ripper Killings There are a lovely array of cast members Ida was a favourite, with her catty remarks who add a rich layer to the threads of the story The sparring between Dot and Ammonia is all the hilarious when a rather large and unexpected bombshell is dropped on both Dot and the reader I like the occasional social commentary from Dot too When she meets an old familiar face from her city, Catherine Eddowes, she reaches out a supportive hand, whilst battling the hardened prejudices of those around her regarding prossies and how the Ripper victims had been asking for it, wandering around at night When these murdered women were alive, Dot muses, no one seemed to reach out to them It s only when they re dead, that people finally showed their faces to pay for the simple box that will convey the body to its final resting place She also acknowledges that men were just as eager to take a woman in exchange for money, and so to place blame on the women who, were destitute and did what they needed to out of sheer desperation and poverty, lacked all the compassion and understanding Dot too, questions the aged Victorian attitudes to women as being somewhat inferior to men and has to sit by whilst her admirer and news sleuth, Tom Bullen, scoffs at the idea of women doctors, lawyers, juries and claimed that if women ever sat in Parliament, they would be too busy discussing their bonnets to get anything of worth done Then too, the many men around Dot tell her repeatedly how she should live her life and encourage her to make those choices that they deem best for her But I like Dot Because she s a hardy narrator, with a mind of her own and isn t easily swayed by the social norms of the time She has a voice, and she uses it well, both on and off stage All in all, The Night in Question is not just a murder mystery novel, but a real analysis into the social and economical status of women during that time.

  4. says:

    The Night in Question is surely the best kind of historical novel It s smart, amusing, well planned in terms of plot and meticulously researched so that it immerses the reader deep into what could be called alternative Victorian times Set among music hall artistes of the era, who in effect breached both ends of the social spectrum many came from poor backgrounds, but some rose to well paid stardom it focuses on doyenne of comedy Dot Allbones and her wonderful, rambunctious circle of friends The plot takes place at the time when Jack The Ripper dominated the Victorian headlines, becoming effectively the first celebrated serial killer Dot is doing quite well, as she says herself, with top billing in some of the best halls in London, but things take a new turn for her when Kate Eddowes, a childhood friend turns up and but no spoilers here, thank you, read the book Details like Victorian vernacular, music hall traditions and the use of real characters Marie Lloyd, The Ripper gives the narrative punch The humour throughout, such as in the uproarious backstage environment of the old music halls, can be laugh out loud But the grimmer side of life, such as the appalling poverty and the condition of the lower orders of the otherwise proper society is equally vivid Having read the audio version, it would be remiss not to compliment the wonderful drama lent to the book for any reader listener by the actress Juanita McMahon Her range of accents, intonations, humorous and pitch perfect delivery does it full justice.Laurie Graham is the author of many historical novels that cover an astonishing range of eras, from long ago royal families to British women in World War II and even the Kennedys Certainly, reading The Night in Question would make me want to read .

  5. says:

    Dot Allbones was the youngest of her large Midlands family With no beauty, and few prospects, she was lucky to discover a lucrative talent she can make people laugh Now the queen of London s music hall stage, Dot feels she s not done badly She has her audience, her independence, and enough money for champagne a good life Pretty, popular orphan Kate Eddowes was an unlikely childhood friend for Dot The older girl s beauty was bound to take her places, and sure enough Kate soon left, lured away by love and the prospect of adventure A chance encounter on a London street years later makes it clear that Kate s life has not gone according to plan Though poor and alone, she retains her indomitable spirit But this is Whitechapel in 1888, and the shadowy streets are no place for a desperate woman to wanderWith her inimitable sharpness and wry wit, Laurie Graham brings to life the bustling pleasures and not so hidden dangers of life in a crowded city with its extremes of poverty and wealth And all the while, in the shadows, lurks the lacerating threat of the Ripper.

  6. says:

    Writers are always told to start their novel with a hook an intriguing premise to make the reader want to read on Laurie Graham doesn t need a hook , because her characters are always so real and engaging, you read to get to know them All Dot Allbones does, for most of this book, is lead her life as a music hall entertainer but I was captivated anyway.I would ve liked it even if it had been purely fictional As it was, I was disappointed when it turned out to be about the Ripper murders It s a subject that s been over saturated I can t help feeling that if Ms Graham had let her imagination go instead of being constrained by historical events, she could ve thought up a much better adventure for Dot.

  7. says:

    A thoroughly enjoyable story with nicely drawn characters and a really authentic feel to it s late Victorian setting The Ripper murders feature prominently, of course, but the focus is never far from the victims, particularly Kate Eddowes, which makes a pleasing change Nor, indeed, from our central female protagonist, Dot, who is not only an absolute hoot but also a fairly nuanced portrayal of a woman of the times This book won t give you any particularly revelatory insight into Jack the Ripper But then again, what could at this point but it s a cracking read nonetheless To my mind Dot s story could have come to a firmer conclusion after the murders concluded, but otherwise I really enjoyed this.

  8. says:

    Laurie Graham is at her inimitable best in this novel about Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel murders With a judicious mix of fact and fiction, she takes the reader back to the time and explores what it must have been like for those living and working in the area Dot Allbones, her heroine, is a music hall performer with a sharp wit and a pragmatic attitude to life Through her eyes we see the events unfolding With a rich cast of characters, convincing dialogue, authentic period detail and a light touch, Graham recreates the time and the place, making this a really enjoyable and compelling read.

  9. says:

    A Jack the Ripper tale from a very different perspective Great characters, solid research.

  10. says:

    British author Laurie Graham s new historical novel, The Night in Question , is about the Jack the Ripper murders in London But like many of Graham s previous works, the protagonist is not the historical figure, Jack, but a bystander to the story, an actress called Dot Allbones Dot is a 40ish music hall artiste , known for her comedic work in the theater She lives in Whitechapel, the area the Ripper operates in and even knows one of the victims, a figure from her childhood in Wolverhampton, who has also ended up in London, albeit in a different line of work than Dot s And its this line of work combined with a liking for alcohol that has Catherine Eddowes meeting the Ripper s knife in a particularly heinous way.Most of the Laurie Graham s books I ve read are about famous figures or events in history, though told by a secondary character For instance, Graham s excellent novel, Gone With the Windsors , is told in the first person by a Balti born friend of Wallis Simpson, who is in London with her during the courtship, David s abdication, and subsequent wedding And in Laurie Graham s clever hands, the secondary characters are always as interesting as the primary ones.In The Night in Question , Graham makes clear that very little separates Kate Conway Catherine Eddowes s street name from Dot Allbones If Dot hadn t had talent, self confidence and a good childhood, she probably wouldn t have achieved the modest fame and professional respect she did in her life She, particularly if she had had a weakness for alcohol, might have ended up as Kate did, living precariously on the streets, making her bed money by casual prostitution The women who were counted as the Ripper s canonical five , all shared a street life like Kate Conway, making them easy victims of the Ripper.Dot Allbones has friends and professional acquaintances she works with who are also part of the story Her boarder, a young man from the provinces, Valentine St John , becomes friends with a very shady American doctor, Francis Tumelty, who Dot suspects of a connection to the murders The investigation into the five murders and the attendant horror in London as the murders grow in number and ferocity are told in Dot s perceptive and sometimes laconic voice The book is a clever mix of real and fictional characters and is well worth reading The book is not out in the United States yet I had to order the book from UK.

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