I was lucky enough to win an advanced reading copy of The Long Long Afternoon by Inga Vesper from ReadersFirst. If I’m being really honest, I would probably never have usually picked up this book as nothing about the cover really appealed to me and mystery/crime isn’t my go to genre. However, I would’ve missed out on a great book if I hadn’t.
Joyce has a seemingly perfect life in Sunnylakes; an upper class white neighbourhood, however, she wants to leave her husband and has plans to do so. When Ruby; the black help, turns up for her shift and finds Joyce missing, her young daughters left home alone and blood all over the kitchen floor it is no longer clear whether Joyce left as planned or something more sinister has occurred.
Of course like in all crime/mystery books there were lots of people to point the finger at: Ruby (the black help), Frank (the husband), Jimmy (the ex-boyfriend), Mrs Ingram (the controlling neighbour) and Doris (the odd friend). Then at the back of my mind I also had the uncertainty of whether Joyce had pulled a ‘Gone Girl’ and framed what looked like a murder but just ran away. Of course it is 1950/60s California so society immediately points the finger of blame to Ruby but Vesper has written the novel in a way that shows Ruby as the only flawless and innocent character highlighting the societal racism even more.
It wasn’t an emotional story where I laughed and cried. But I was eager to learn the truth and the multi-narrative proved great for drip feeding the story. For a debut novel it is fair to say that Vesper has done great! I would definitely read something else by her.
It’s due to be released on Thursday and I’d definitely recommend it!