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The Long Shadow

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  157 ratings  ·  35 reviews
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
Paperback, 250 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by Faber & Faber (first published July 3rd 1975)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  157 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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3.75/5. Domestic suspense about a recent widow, her chaotic, tangled (step-)family and a mysterious accident/murder. There are many funny and poignant observations on the intricacies of family relations and I loved the way this played with perspective, but I thought the ending was a bit of a letdown.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Review to follow for blog tour
H.A. Leuschel
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a Christmas story with a difference for sure. I enjoyed the quirky, engaging and fluid writing style, the well drawn characters with a 'ghost' thrown into their midst and a surprising reveal for the end. All in all a quick entertaining read that cleverly ties its sparkly ribbon around a well-packaged story line!
Andy Weston
Dec 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Originally published in 1975 Celia Fremlin’s novel is a perfect Christmas read.
Imogen is grieving for her husband, and at the same time getting used to her new life, when family descend on her house, self-invited, for the Christmas holiday, including his previous wife.
As with the best mysteries, it’s difficult for the reader to predict where the story is heading; are there any suspicious circumstances about the death? As the guests outstay their welcome, Imogen is at her wits’ end, struggling
Liz Barnsley
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my second Celia Fremlin novel and once again I enjoyed it, old school and intriguing I would actually put it more under family drama than I would mystery, albeit that there are mystery elements plus that same underlying sense of unease that was palpable in the last book I read of hers.

Imogen's husband dies in a crash, a mysterious young man keeps accusing her of killing him and Imogen's house is suddenly full of family and strangers. Through a series of odd and often unsettling
I started reading Celia Fremlin's The Long Shadow on the plane back from Lithuania. Her books are generally excellent, and it is a real shame that nobody really seems to read her work anymore. I did not remind myself of the plot before beginning this, and found its lack of intensity a little surprising, particularly when compared to her other work.

There are a lot of interesting elements to be found here, and the mystery was done well, but there was an element of predictability to it; I guessed
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
British author Celia Fremlin (1914-2009) took jobs in domestic service, unusual for a middle-class woman at that time. She said it was to "observe the peculiarities of the class structure of our society," and those experiences later found their way into her later writing. Much later, in her sixties, she began to take long walks at night by herself over the back streets of London, partly for research and partly to prove a point. Her conclusion was that to make the dark streets lose their terror, ...more
Celia Fremlin is great at a certain type of inner monologue, and at pitting this sort of narrative voice against a series of increasingly sinister incidents (as she does in the brilliant THE HOURS BEFORE DAWN). Is Imogen going to be accused of killing her husband? Is her husband really dead? Will she ever be left in peace by all the friends and family who have swooped in to 'keep her company' over Christmas? These questions are given almost equal weight, which gives an authenticity to Imogen's ...more
Maura Heaphy Dutton
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks-cloud
"Forgotten" thriller writer, whose works are being re-issued, prompting some positive reviews. The problem with randomly selecting one out of a life-time's work to sample is that I don't know if this is the best she could do, and a good example of her style and tone, or the runt of the litter. But based on this single, unscientific sample, I'm not sure that I'll be rushing out to get my hands on more of her work.

My problem with Fremlin was entirely with tone and pacing -- first, she seemed to be
Joanne Robertson
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel a little (okay a lot!) behind the times at the moment as I hadn’t actually heard of Celia Fremlin before I read this book! But as soon as I finished The Long Shadow, I immediately bought The Hours Before Dawn to educate myself a little further about the woman called the British Patricia Highsmith. The Long Shadow is a dark and creepy psychological thriller that feels just as relevant today as it did the day it was published (possibly more so!) and has aged better than most books written ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
It was alright. Not bad but I was expecting more Christmas and more mystery.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great writer Celia Fremlin is.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Thank you to Joanna at Faber & Faber for this wonderful surprise and for inviting me to be part of the tour.

I am not a friend of Christmas. I don’t enjoy the holiday, I don’t like the compulsory family reunion, I steer clear of themed books with cinnamon rolls and happy endings.
In a nutshell, whenever I read the word “Christmas”, I run the other way.

So why am I reviewing a book with “Christmas” written in red on the cover? Because of the difference. Of course, when I began reading, I had

Carole Tyrrell

Imogen Barnicott is slowly beginning to accept her widowhood. It’s been 4 months since her husband, Ivor’s, sudden death in a car crash and, although he was egotistical, selfish, demanding and unfaithful she misses him. Imogen feels awkward and very conscious of being alone and no longer one of a couple.
However, she realises how much Ivor would have loved being dead as letters and fulsome tributes arrive and even she can’t keep the thought hidden that ‘Please God don’t let me ever forget what a
Juliet Bookliterati
What jumped out to me aboutThe Long Shadowfirst was the traditional writing style, it is a book very much of its time, the 1960's. This is in no way a bad thing, I love a traditional book and it's more formal use of the English language. This book is a classic thriller, with a touch of Domestic Noir to it. Most of the action takes place in Imogen's house, where we feel a bit like a voyeur to the family dynamics and relationships. This gives Celia Fremlin a great opportunity to include some ...more
Boris Cesnik
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did ask myself that question - the one that only the finale provides the answer to. Indeed I had that doubt but, as in all my experiences reading a Celia Fremlin's novel, it was followed and preceded by hundreds of thousands of other questions and doubts. So I didn't give much thought.
There are 26 chapters in this book, 24 of which written in that unmistakably Celian style, wondrous narrative embossed by psychological humour and wit that inhabit every sentence and dialogue.
The carnival of
Part family drama, part mystery, part dark comedy... there is a lot to love about this short, sharp novel. Witty, mysterious, colorful family members surround the widow, Imogen Barnicott, in an attempt to comfort her; she starts to find her domestic life both difficult (given their unwanted presence) and mysterious (given that there are unwelcome signs that her late, larger-than-life husband, Ivor, might still be alive and about). An engaging book ; the mystery was as engrossing as the ...more
Abby Slater- Fairbrother
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Long Shadow has an unusual writing style and it was then that I discovered it is being re-published by Faber Books. The writing has a traditional style and the novel is based around an intriguing mystery. Who is targeting a lonely widow? And why?

Imogen is recently widowed and it attempting to get her life back on track. Her friend Myrtle is encouraging her to get out of her house, but Imogen is reluctant. She feels as though being a ‘widow’ is becoming her identity. Her step-children Robin
Nov 04, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Celia Fremlin’s The Long Shadow is the latest in Faber & Faber’s re-discovery of the Edgar Award-winning novelist, following on from their 2017 edition of her debut, The Hours Before Dawn. Fremlin, heralded as a talented writer of domestic suspense in her day, seems to have been largely forgotten following her death in 2009 and, on the evidence of The Long Shadow, certainly deserves a larger readership upon the reissuing of her works.

Although there is nothing particularly innovative about
Jeff Howells
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
The Strap-line for this novel is ‘a Christmas story with a difference’ which in the strictest sense is accurate as although Christmas occurs during this book it is over and done with within a few pages and otherwise isn’t Christmassy at all. This is a psychological thriller set in winter, with a hint of a possible supernatural shenanigans.
The story involves a widow whose husband, a revered academic, has recently died in a car crash. As Christmas approaches her home becomes overrun with family,
Stupidly I am nearly always surprised by the freshness of books written years ago. Celia's searingly honest observation of character and human nature within a domestic setting does not age and shows how little has changed in the way we react to each - and lie to each other. I did not figure out who dunnit but then I don't try to; the pleasure of letting this well-crafted plot and the atmospheric telling of it was enough. I will seek out more of her work.
There was a small bio included at the end
Marilyn Watson
Celia Fremlin has a talent for writing middle aged women with ego driven Husbands. The Husband in this story has just died with all his rages, scholarly attributes, and women that loved him. There were three wives and several mistresses not to mention a student that loved Ivor. Was his death accidental or murder?

Fremlin's tense driven book is easy to read and a very good analysis of friends and family of the late Ivor but the ending was a little bit of a let down...
Wendy Ryan
Dec 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3 1/2 stars. I guess an early example of domestic noir. Some sharp (and amusing) observations of a widow's grief and the complications of dealing with family, friends and 'the long shadow' of past wrongs. The resolution of the mystery was rather out of the blue and could have been seeded better but ultimately made sense for the characters and story. This was an older author I had never read before but I'm happy to have made a new discovery.
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was my first time reading a Celia Fremlin book. I hadn’t even heard of her until recently. I did not enjoy it. There wasn’t one likeable character in the book. One reviewer said this would not be the best book to start with but I don’t think I will be trying any more of her books.
Jan 05, 2019 rated it liked it
From the synopsis, this wasn’t at all what I had expected and therefore felt a little short-changed. However, I did appreciate the razor-sharp observatory and understated wit with which Fremlin writes.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very clever neat writing. I could imagine the whole family at Christmas keeping their secrets and hiding their feelings from each other. The mystery over the apparent ghost was well planned and convincing when it unravelled. Nice, simple book, but worth a read
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-books
I have only just recently discovered this author. A good book but not as good as her first novel. Will keep trying!
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some excellent writing and descriptions at times here. It started off really well, but my interest waned a little as it went on.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well written if somewhat conveluted at times, however the twists in the story kept my interest.
Liz Owen
Feb 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well reviewed in the press, but I was disappointed. Seemed very dated.
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Celia was born in Kingsbury, now part of London, England. She was the daughter of Heaver Fremlin and Margaret Addiscott. Her older brother, John H. Fremlin, later became a nuclear physicist. Celia studied at Somerville College, Oxford University. From 1942 to 2000 she lived in Hampstead, London. In 1942 she married Elia Goller, with whom she had three children; he died in 1968. In 1985, Celia ...more