In the summer of 1976 the UK was experiencing a massive heatwave. Now before we get into lots of jokes about British weather, this was actually very serious. We are not used to extreme weather here, and weeks of consecutive temperatures in the high 80Fs and low 90Fs, and no rain led to illness, deaths of the vulnerable and water rationing. We are simply not used to those sorts of temperatures here. We have the same problem when on odd occasions it gets very cold.
I digress. Instructions for a Heatwave is set during this summer. We meet the Riordan family, Robert and Gretta, and their three grown up children. One morning Robert goes out to get the paper and never returns. The three children return to the family home from their own messed up lives to try and work out where their father has gone.
The central mystery of where Robert has gone rather takes a back seat for most of the book as we get to know and understand the family. I was a little confused by this, until I got to the point where the enormous metaphorical skeleton in the cupboard was revealed (and it is a biggie). The reader needs to understand the complex history of each of these characters to understand just what a bombshell this particular skeleton is.
All in all I rather enjoyed this, I don't remember this summer, I was less than a year old, but I do remember the late 1970s, so there was some real nostalgia to wallow in alongside the intelligent look at how and why families operate the way that they do.