New true crime thriller from Nell Pattison features disabled and D/deaf characters

Silent Night is a thriller filled with questions, suspense and drama sure to be a hit in 2020, which also shines a spotlight on the D/deaf community.

Written by Nell Pattison, a teacher specialised in D/deaf education, Pattison has been teaching the D/deaf community for 13 years working with children and young people using British Sign Language (BSL).


This knowledge inspired previous novel, The Silent House which introduces BSL interpreter Paige Northwood. Now, as Silent Night prepares to be released on Thursday (12 November), Paige returns to solve a new crime.

After a school for the D/deaf takes an overnight trip to the snowy woods, five teenagers go to sleep, but only four wake up.

As Paige goes to investigate the crime, it appears everyone has a motive for murder and even more suspicious, everyone has an alibi. 


Set to be released as a book, e-book and in audio, the team at HarpersCollins have brought in exciting new actors from the D/deaf community to portray characters in the novel. 

Rebecca Fortuin, audio editor for HarperCollins explains: “I was granted access to the video database ProFile hosted by Spotlight and the National Theatre, designed to champion and showcase D/deaf and disabled talent. 

“There I was able to watch show reels of potential narrators and their preferred support when taking on a role.”

Clare-Louise English has been cast as Paige, with Lara Steward acting as flashback narrator. 


“As HarperCollins has a close working partnership with RNIB I decided their studios would be the best place to cater for our actor’s accessibly requirements,” enthuses Rebecca.

“Clare-Louise recorded as any hearing narrator would other than not wearing headphones (as they would affect her hearing aids).

“Lara rehearsed with her sister to build her confidence with certain pronunciations, and I supplied a phonetic list for those that she was not familiar with.”

At the time of recording, BSL interpreter Kathleen Gillian worked alongside Lara sitting in her line of sight to translate feedback from producers. 

“The studio as standard also use lights to cue when the recording begins,” adds Rebecca. “As spoken English is Lara’s second language I booked additional time in the studio so she wouldn’t be rushed and could instead focus on her performance.”

From a murder mystery on the pages of Silent Night, to the audio adapted and disability inclusive e-book and audio books: Silent Night looks set to be a success beyond the lure of true crime.

Make sure to pick up your copy of Silent Night here and revel in a story that will be hard to put down. The main question: What happened when everyone was asleep?

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