The Long, Long Afternoon: The most atmospheric and compelling debut novel of the year by Inga Vesper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I haven't sat down and finished a whole book in one sitting recently, mostly because I've been reading (or trying to anyway) thick SFF works that are a gazillion pages long or something like that. But I picked up this wonderful mystery and finished in one go.
Sunnylakes, California is the picture-perfect rich, white American neighbourhood - until Joyce Haney disappears, leaving behind a bloody kitchen. The only ones who might know anything are little Barbara Haney and the help, Ruby Wright. But who's going to listen to them, a little girl and a black woman? Disgraced Detective Mick Blanke, apparently, since he has nothing else to lose.
Vesper paints a vivid picture of Joyce Haney and the darkness that lurks behind her picture-perfect life. But as much as it is about solving the crime, The Long, Long Afternoon is also about Ruby Wright, her dreams and ambitions, and all the things that stand in her way as a black woman in the fifties.
I'm not a huge fan of shifting POVs, but Vesper does it well, mostly shifting between Ruby and Mick, but also dropping in little snippets of Joyce's voice at apt moments.
In conclusion, The Long, Long Afternoon is a perfect Sunday afternoon read. I really enjoyed it.
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