The Long Call
    Home    Print This Page

1. Did you like the book? Why or why not?


2. This story is told from multiple points of view – primarily through the eyes of Mathew Venn, Jen Rafferty, and Gaby Henry. Did it work? Did you like seeing the case through different points of view? Why or why not?


3. Do you think the characters in the book were fully developed? Which characters were the best developed? Which characters the least developed?


4. When should a police officer recuse himself from the case? Should Matt have turned over the case when he found out it involved the Woodyard and his husband, Johnathan, as the Woodyard director? Should he have stepped back later in the case? When?


5. The Long Call opens with a scene of Matthew Venn standing outside his father’s funeral service, mulling over why he is watching from the outside rather than mourning with family and friends inside. How do the relationships between parents and children - Matthew and his mother, Lucy and Maurice, Caroline and Christopher - affect the events of the novel? Mentor Public Library Page 3 of 6 February 2022


6. Matthew goes to examine Simon’s body on the beach, and thinks: “Now he could hear the surf on the beach and the cry of a herring gull, the sound naturalists named the long call, the cry which always sounded to him like an inarticulate howl of pain. These were the noises of home.” Is it significant that the sounds that remind Matthew of home also remind him of pain? How does this relationship between home and pain relate to his past? To his present?


7. Why do you think the author named this book “The Long Call”? What is the significance of the title?


8. What do you think the albatross tattoo on Simon’s neck symbolizes?


9. When Jen and Ross first see Simon’s room, Jen says “it could be a monk’s room,” and Ross responds: “Or a prison cell.” As you learn who Simon was, throughout The Long Call, which of these comparisons do you find most accurate?


10. The Woodyard looms large in the novel - both as a setting that brings many of its characters together and as the site of the event that sets everything off. Do you think it’s meaningful that the events in The Long Call revolve around a community center? How so?


11. Jen is surrounded by men at her job, including, of course, her boss DI Matthew Venn. Does she get treated differently from Ross because she's a woman?


12. Religion - whether it be the Brethren or Caz’s beliefs - is important in this story. How do the beliefs of different characters affect their choices?


13. Lucy is a strong and sympathetic character throughout The Long Call, and in the end her strength becomes incredibly important. Do any characters in the novel to underestimate her? If so, who and how?


14. Why do you think Simon Warton was so invested in the Woodyard case? Should he have left it alone? Why or why not?


15. Were you shocked by the big reveal at the end? Did you see it coming? When did you figure out the twist(s) and what were the clues that led you there?


16. There are actually multiple crimes that occur in the book culminating in Simon Warton’s death. Who did you feel is ultimately responsible for Simon's death? Who is the most culpable?


17. What about the people who tried to cover up the initial crime? How much of what ultimately happened is their responsibility?


18. A number of Ann Cleeves previous books have been developed for TV. Do you think this book would make a good TV show? Why or why not?


19. Ann Cleeves has written a number of other books and series. Will you read them?


 * Some questions from Mentor Public Library.

Home l About Us l Features l Contact Us l Share l Submit Book