We are delighted that Bonnier Books / Manilla Press will publish Inga Vesper‘s stunning debut, following a four way auction and much international interest.

Sophie Orme, publishing director at Zaffre and Manilla Press, bought UK & Commonwealth rights to The Long, Long Afternoon from Giles Milburn in a two-book deal, and is set to publish in February 2021.

Orme described the reading group mystery as ‘gripping and deeply atmospheric… The mystery behind [The Long, Long Afternoon’s] strange disappearance of a housewife will hook you in, but it’s the rich characters and intoxicating atmosphere of those long summer afternoons, brimming with secrets, which will linger on in your mind long after the final page has been turned.’

There has also been strong international interest, with the book having been sold into Germany (Rowohlt), the Netherlands (De Fontein), Italy (Edizione Piemme), Spain (Planeta) and the Czech Republic (Grada).


‘There is hope in the morning hours, just as there is desperation in the afternoon, which stretches like gum and yet contracts into nothing . . . ‘

It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. And at some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney vanishes from her home.

Ruby Wright arrives for work at Sunnylakes that day expecting the usual: chores she despises; sore joints; prejudice from her employers. And at least some kindness from Joyce. Instead, she encounters two terrified toddlers and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor. Joyce is missing.

Detective Mick Blanke, recently transferred to the area, is assigned the case, but before long he realises it is Ruby who holds the key to this mystery. She knows more about the secrets lurking behind the starched curtains of Sunnylakes than he ever could . . .


Vesper, originally from Germany and now also a Londoner, has always been fascinated by the 1950s: ‘The stifling rigidity of that decade, with its clear gender rules, conservative politics and strictly enforced social codes, lay the groundwork for the 60s, which brought on global student revolutions, the civil rights movement, and second-wave feminism. Behind the veneer of perfect 50s imagery lies something very dark and disturbing.

As The Bookseller reported in October, Manilla Press publish ‘conversation-creators across genres‘ and ‘books that set the agenda‘. They have had great success recently with The Foundling by Stacy Halls, The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri, and T. M. Logan’s The Holiday. They are looking to publish The Long, Long Afternoon in the same space.

Inga Vesper is a journalist and editor. She moved to the UK from Germany to work as a carer, before the urge to write and explore brought her to journalism. As a reporter, she covered the coroner’s court and was able to observe how family, neighbours and police react to a suspicious death. She holds a MSc in Climate Change Management from Birkbeck College. Inga has worked and lived in Syria and Tanzania, but always returned to London, because there’s no better place to find a good story than the top deck of a bus.