Set in an affluent white neighbourhood of the post war America 1950’s during the endless days of a hot California summer, housewife Joyce Haney vanishes. The children are found in tears, a bloodstain on the floor of the kitchen.
How this was possible in this perfect neighbourhood of white picket fences, perfectly presented wife’s and mothers with their carefully manufactured beliefs, the manicured green lawns of middle class suburbia that created the great American Dream, one with feet of clay.
A slow burn to begin with, the plot picks up pace as the three protagonists form into very complex people, each hiding something: Joyce stifled by the cast iron routine, falsehoods and expectations of a life in the suburbs, Ruby the black maid, overlooked, marginalised and wanting more out of life than being the hired help, Detective Mick Blanke, recently arrived from Baltimore under a cloud.
It is inconceivable that in this perfect neighbourhood, murder could have been committed and the more Mick Blanke investigates the crime, he begins to believe that perhaps murder was carried out. Ruby is of course the first suspect, but as she knows more about what goes on behind the lace curtains of Sunnylake, Blanke realises perhaps he and Ruby would be better working together.
Told by Joyce, Ruby and Blanke, secrets are uncovered, lies exposed and the true underbelly of American society lay bare, during a time when women were supposed to fit in with societies dictates, black folk were treated with complete disregard and slightly dodgy Detectives, a matter of course!
More than a simple murder mystery, the debut novel The Long Long Afternoon from Inga Vesper has style, panache and a damn good storyline established firmly in an era of massive change, stifling correctness and damning values, against the relentless, enervating days of a Californian summer.
What really did happen to Joyce Haney?
|Distributor||Allen & Unwin|