11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Hand In Glove (Paperback)
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.