The Long, Long Afternoon
‘A remarkably assured debut. A tale of inequality, broken dreams and quiet desperation behind a picture-perfect facade’ Guardian
‘A clever and absorbing debut by Inga Vesper, who bricks Joyce up in her perfect house, then smashes it to pieces with aplomb’ The Times
A stunning 1950s set debut mystery brimming with atmosphere and perfect for fans of Tangerine, Small Pleasures and Mad Men.
Yesterday, I kissed my husband for the last time . . .
It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife, mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor.
While the Haney’s neighbours get busy organising search parties, it is Ruby Wright, the family’s ‘help’, who may hold the key to this unsettling mystery. Ruby knows more about the secrets behind Sunnylakes’ starched curtains than anyone, and it isn’t long before the detective in charge of the case wants her help. But what might it cost her to get involved? In these long hot summer afternoons, simmering with lies, mistrust and prejudice, it could only take one spark for this whole ‘perfect’ world to set alight . . .
A beguiling, deeply atmospheric debut novel from the cracked heart of the American Dream, The Long, Long Afternoon is at once a page-turning mystery and an intoxicating vision of the ways in which women everywhere are diminished, silenced and ultimately under-estimated.
Everyone is talking about The Long, Long Afternoon
‘Beguiling and evocative. This vivid and atmospheric pageturner will keep readers guessing all the way to its satisfying finale’
‘Beautifully crafted, claustrophobic and compelling. As delicious as a long drink on a hot day’
Stacey Halls, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Familiars and The Foundling
‘Such a vivid atmosphere of stifling LA heat and stifling 50s domesticity’
Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures
‘Breathtakingly stylish, hypnotic and masterfully gripping’
Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End, Waterstones Thriller of the Month
‘A triumph. What a pleasure to read something fresh and original. For once the hype is justified and Inga Vesper’s gripping page turner must surely now be bound for Netflix’
‘A tasty, tense, page-turning combo of James Ellroy and Kate Atkinson with a bit of Mad Men thrown in’
‘For fans of Revolutionary Road and Mad Men, this is an atmospheric tale of repression and style at the heart of the American Dream’ Stylist
Beautifully crafted, claustrophobic and compelling, Inga Vesper's skilfully woven suburban noir is as delicious as a long drink on a hot day. * Stacey Halls * Such a vivid atmosphere of stifling LA heat and stifling 50s domesticity - the brittle facades of those suburban mansions with their manicured lawns and maddened housewives. A homage to hard-boiled American crime fiction, but told with a distinctive female sensibility. Lovely! * Clare Chambers, author of Small Pleasures * I was hooked from the opening sentence. I loved the setting and the way Inga gradually reveals the human struggles at the heart of the burgeoning civil rights and women's rights movements. As well as being a sharp examination of privilege and oppression, it's also completely gripping and kept me guessing right to the end * Amanda Mason, author of The Wayward Girls * A stunning debut. Set against a backdrop of increasing racial tension and the rise of the Women's Movement, a personal story of female friendship and tragedy unfolds. I loved every page, evocative of a time in relative recent history and yet a world away. The story unfolds intricately, but with pace and ease * Amanda Reynolds * The Long, Long Afternoon is beautifully written and brilliantly observed, as well as being a page-turning mystery. The 1950s come alive with issues that resonate today * Simon Lelic * This wonderful, beautifully written novel held me to the very last word. I loved everything about it - characters, setting, twists and turns . . . and I think it's an incredibly clever book, too. Although it appears to be about one thing - a woman vanishes - it actually sits at the intersection of so many tensions. Women and men, white and Black, wealthy and poor, in-crowd and outsiders, mothers and childless women, the content and the wretched: Joyce Haney is the place where all of these divisions meet. All that, AND it's a perfect period piece that manages to bring new light to the world we live in today * Stephanie Butland * Reminscent of Hollywood noir, The Long Long Afternoon is a tense, gripping exploration of the darkness beneath the sunny exterior of 50s suburbia. * Zoe Somerville, author of The Night of the Flood * It's hard to express just how much I loved The Long, Long Afternoon. It's breathtakingly stylish, hypnotic and masterfully gripping. Inga paints the most beautiful portrait of 50s suburbia, yet each page scratches away at the sunny gloss to reveal the darkness beneath. Outstanding * Chris Whitaker * Raced through this very atmospheric novel set in a hot American 50s summer. Not just a beguiling murder mystery but also has important things to say about race, gender and class. Loved it! * Araminta Hall * The perfect marriage of contemporary domestic noir and old-style Hollywood noir * Laure van Rensburg, author of The Downfall * Loved this taut slice of classic noir. Shimmering Santa Monica skies, technicolor fifties suburbia hiding the darkest of secrets. All set against a backdrop of stifling racial tension. If there isn't a film in the pipeline I'd be shocked! * C.J. Tudor * A tasty, tense page-turning combo of James Ellroy and Kate Atkinson with a bit of Mad Men thrown in. Fabulous * Liz Hyder * Evocative, stylish and gripping, The Long Long Afternoon exposes the dark underbelly of 1950s suburban America in a thriller that is pure class. * Deborah O'Connor * A perfect read. California, 1959, a nation divided. In one stifling suburb murder plays out against a backdrop of racial & gender injustice. The desire for change rises from the pages like heat off a sidewalk * Mary Paulson Ellis, author of The Other Mrs Walker * Lose yourself in the twisted thrills of a 1950s marriage * Glamour magazine * For fans of Revolutionary Road and Mad Men, this is an atmospheric tale of repression and style at the heart of the American Dream as a wife and mother disappears from her home leaving nothing but a stain of blood * Stylist magazine, Best New Fiction for 2021 * An atmospheric chiller * Independent, Best Books for 2021 *
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