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Goddard, Robert - 'Name to a Face'
Hardback: 369 pages (Sep. 2007) Publisher: Bantam Press ISBN: 0593053672

Tim Harding is a landscape gardener who moved to Monte Carlo following the death of his wife eight years ago. His major client, investor and friend Barney Tozer asks him to go to Penzance in Cornwall and bid for a ring left by a relative of Barney's in his will. This return brings back memories of his final journey with his late wife as well as introducing him to some unusual and mysterious characters: Barney's taciturn brother, a disgruntled and alcoholic ex-employee of Barney's and the mysterious and elfin housekeeper of Barney's deceased relative.

Tim encounters secrets from Barney's past. To complicate matters, Carol Tozer, Barney's wife, is having an affair with Tim and is implicated in these uncovered secrets. This involves a drowning accident off the coast of Scilly of a female journalist who bears an uncanny resemblance to Barney's deceased relative's housekeeper. Tim travels over to Scilly but before he can learn more, the ring which was part of a house auction, is stolen. Tim gets more and more involved in trying to unravel the various secrets which have their foundation in an 18th century shipwreck and his investigation encounters tragedy and murder.

This is the 19th novel by this master of mystery thrillers. The pace of the narrative never lets up. The usual clever device of finishing a chapter with a new twist, drives the reader on. Having read all his novels you can spot his plot twists and turns sometimes before they happen but this doesn't detract from the book. One or two developments are very fanciful but overall he shows he has lost none of his storytelling skill. The storyline moves between Monte Carlo, Cornwall, the Scilly Isles, London, Germany and even Lincoln gets a visit. An exciting and well plotted book which shows Mr Goddard is still going strong.

Geoff Jones, England
September 2007

last updated 14/09/2007 22:59