on 17 January 2015
Every book that I have read by Robert Goddard has, in my opinion, been 5 star, and Hand In Glove is no exception. Sadly, I have now read all of this authors books, so have now to wait for his next. The upside is that, until such time, I shall not be compelled to keep reading into the early hours, and get a good nights sleep at last !!!
on 26 August 2009
'Hand in Glove'.I've waited and waited to read this,having read every other Robert Goddard novel.I left this one until he took another 'gap' year,which with the delay to 'Long Time Coming'this year has turned out to be. Was it worth it? Yes and no. If I could have given this book 3.5 stars then I would have as it is certainly better than 'Found Wanting'but not in my opinion as some of his modern day mysteries such as 'Days without number' or 'Sight Unseen'.
'Hand in Glove' was published in 1992 and comparing his writing style then to that of today is almost like reading a different author.I love his early novels and the incredible detail that he brought to those stories and this is the type of novel he usually excells at...dark family secrets that come to haunt those living generations later. The trouble with 'Hand in Glove' is that the characters are really quite dull,especially Charlotte who takes the lead role in this story.There are twists and turns a plenty but not the sudden heart stopping shocks that are contained in his best work. Credibility is also stretched at points, especially near the end( a problem with his recent books);Frank, a character who has lived as a recluse in Wales for 50 years drives to london and the next thing is he is on the ferry to France, as if he would have a passport in the first place! There are good points, in particular the historical detail regarding the Spanish civil war and the letters from the front.
This is a long novel by Robert Goddard's 2008 standards and the pace is sedate. With no new novel this year, I hope that he can re find the balance between pace and the incredible plot twists and shock endings that his best books are renowned for.
on 9 August 2005
What I love about Robert Goddard is his ability to take an ordinary person, who could be someone you know, and place him or her into extra ordinary events - as if it was just a slip of fate that occurs. I have loved every novel I have read by Robert Goddard, and i always feel the same way - he has a fantastic ability to make you feel that it really could happen, although some of the events that happen in his novels are so fantastic.
One of my favourite scenes in Hand in Glove (not wanting to give too much away) is Derek walking down the bridge to meet the Spanish man, and the reader wonders how Frank, who is watching, must be feeling. Frank is an old man, veteran of the Spanish Civil War, and knows what this Spanish man has done in the past. Frank is my favourite character in Hand in Glove, I could imagine him that he really is a real old man living in rural Wales.
Characterisation is everything with Goddard, Colin the shady dealer, Derek the shy unassuming hero who is not quite a hero - an accountant for heaven's sake, and Charlotte, the slightly overweight, sensible, unbeautiful but very real heroine who could hardly believe the events that happen to her family. And Beatrix, the old lady who dies at the beginning, yet who we learn about extensively and learn to love, just like a much-loved elderly grandparent who is long dead but much talked about. You could just imagine looking at old people in the street and imagining their previous lives, in wars and in events that we younger people an only ever see in films - ordinary people. Goddard respects history and it shows with such consumate skill.
Fantastic book by Goddard, totally unputdownable, a real page turner, and a very interesting unexpected ending - classic Goddard....make you think....
on 2 August 2005
An old lady wakes in the night anticipating her murder ... and knowing who her murderer must be. The police, however, have another suspect, conveniently connected to the crime and unable to explain away the evidence heaped against him. Thus starts a whodunnit which begins in the quiet certainties of an English coastal town and reaches across the seas and down fifty years to the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath.
Robert Goddard writes exceptionally good historical thrillers, linking a past which has sown the seeds of the crime, and the present in which the harvest is brought in. In doing so, he displays exceptional qualities of exposition - of finding a vehicle to describe the past and make it relevant to the present without stopping the action and slowing the story.
Goddard plots his stories beautifully - he is, or should be, a model for would be novelists. His characters can reminisce, he can inject documents from the past, he can flashback and forward through time, and he can have his characters discuss the significance of history and specific, often arcane, events without for one moment decelerating the page-turning flow of his writing.
This is Goddard's sixth novel, maintaining an exceptional standard. A very English writer, but with catholic interests and perspectives, his writing is always intelligent, lucid, humanistic, and well-paced, his narrative weaving back and forth across a cast of characters and across cultures and eras. He sets up the twists very neatly, but very honestly. There's no sleight of hand, just excellent craftsmanship.
Goddard's thrillers are, perhaps, 'cosy' - his heroes, in so far as they exist, tend not to be macho men, but placid individuals caught up in a maelstrom of events. Their responses are human and flawed, their actions logical but hesitant. They are real rather than superheroes. The villains, too, are rational people, seeking to exploit and benefit from their crimes. What Goddard assembles is a recognisable set of possibilities - situations and crimes which seem plausible and possible, and not the exorbitant fantasy of Hollywood or some of the more strenuous thrillers.
Goddard's books are excellent accompaniment on journeys or a weekend in front of the fire. Excellent, well-written stories which keep you entertained, keep you engaged, and keep you turning the pages.
on 23 December 2001
I became addicted to Goddard after reading Take No Farewell, and Hand In Glove shares many of the same features. Central to the plot is the determination of Derek Fairfax to exonerate his brother, who is suspected of murdering Beatrix Abberley, sister of the war poet Tristam Abberley. The plot gets murkier and more complex, until everything seems to fall into place. There's a nice twist in the final chapter too.
on 13 March 2011
Goddard's works have become so disappointing in recent years that if I feel like a fix of his tortured plots I now just read some of his first books.
This novel was first published in 1992. It has all the usual elements - a mystery from a few generations back that envelop surviving relatives, an international dimension that brings in foreign travel*, a bringing together of unlikely characters who usually start out as enemies and become friends and a cast from Goddard's version of central casting which includes the usual weak hero or heroine, cardboard bad guys and assorted bit players.
This basic plot worked for a while in books like "Into the Blue", "Borrowed Time", "Take No Farewell" and to an extent "Hand in Glove" and then fizzled out.
That may sound like a rather cynical account of Goddard's works but it is based on my reading of almost everything he has written.
So if you are new to Goddard, choose these earlier works and avoid his later books.
The basis of this story - the murder of the sister of an English poet who died during the Spanish Civil War allegedly to obtain the copyright on his poems - is unconvincing.
Of course, there is a greater mystery afoot and Goddard unravels it via trips to various parts of southern England, Wales, the United States, France and Spain. It is a reasonable read but be prepared for stilted dialogue, one-dimensional characters and a roller coaster ride.
*Including the usual caricature foreigners. In this book for example, a Spanish thug who holds a knife to an Englishmen's throat smells of garlic while a Frenchman phones his wife and when she answers says: "Ma Chérie, c'est moi."
on 6 February 2015
I have become a great fan of this writer. He just tells such well thought out stories, involving interesting characters which are totally believable. The main character in his books tend to be reluctant heros who get sucked in to the puzzle to be solved and end up being characters with real backbone.
This story involves Derek an Accountant who is the brother of a man arrested for murder who feels compelled to investigate a few loose ends in the case and then uncovers long lost truths that take the story back into the Spanish Civil war and the lies told then that create the consequences of today.
A great read as always with Robert Goddard, thoroughly recommended.
on 21 August 2015
This is one of those books that has been languishing on my TBR shelf for far too long, so I thought I'd take a break from all the newer books and read an oldie. This has taken me an absolute age to read, something that's never a good sign. Unfortunately, for me it wasn't an oldie but goodie and I was really disappointed with it as it seemed to promise much more.
The characters are, on the whole, interesting and well formed, the story an interesting and intriguing one and there were a couple of twists. It just seemed far too lengthy. By the time the conclusion was nearing completion, I no longer cared about it and felt I should've quit a long while back.
on 30 July 2013
fully recomended for any thriller lover a roller coaster of a novel with great twists an turns , goddard is a master story teller.
on 21 July 2013
If you like robert goddard you will enjoy this book he transport you to another time and place and you can taken into the book.