The Long Shadow by Celia Fremlin
A spine-chilling classic winter mystery from beloved author described as 'Britain's Patricia Highsmith' and the 'grandmother of psycho-domestic noir'.
Jolted from sleep by the ringing of the telephone, Imogen stumbles through the dark, empty house to answer it. At first, she can't quite understand the man on the other end of the line. Surely he can't honestly be accusing her of killing her husband, Ivor, who died in a car crash barely two months ago.
As the nights draw in, Imogen finds her home filling up with unexpected guests, who may be looking for more than simple festive cheer. Has someone been rifling through Ivor's papers? Who left the half-drunk whiskey bottle beside his favourite chair? And why won't that man stop phoning, insisting he can prove Imogen's guilt ..?
Celia Fremlin (1914–2009) was born in Kent and spent her childhood in Hertfordshire, before studying at Oxford (whilst working as a charwoman). During World War Two, she served as an air-raid warden before becoming involved with the Mass Observation Project, collaborating on a study of women workers, War Factory. In 1942 she married Elia Goller, moved to Hampstead and had three children. In 1968, their youngest daughter committed suicide aged 19; a month later, her husband also killed himself. In the wake of these tragedies, Fremlin briefly relocated to Geneva. In 1985, she married Leslie Minchin, with whom she lived until his death in 1999. Over four decades, Fremlin wrote sixteen celebrated novels - including the classic summer holiday mystery Uncle Paul (1959) - one book of poetry and three story collections. Her debut The Hours Before Dawn won the Edgar Award in 1960.