Goddard's newest novel shows that even a middle-aged, frumpy man can become a hero. When Heather Mallender, English schoolteacher, disappears while sightseeing in Greece with Harry Barnett, Barnett must discover whether she disappeared voluntarily or was a victim of malice. In Hitchcockian tradition, the hero finds himself trapped in a web of intrigue that threatens not only his reputation, but also his life. Barnett's quest leads him from Greece to England and back, followed everywhere he goes, encountering suspicion and resistance at every turn. Everyone, it seems, has things to hide. Goddard's ( Painting the Darkness , LJ 9/1/89) elegant and gothic portrait of blackmail, deception, and death is hampered by its meandering pace and intricacy. Still, the novel is ultimately successful.-- Bettie Alston Spivey, Charlotte-Mecklenburg P.L., N.C.
In a suspenseful, classy narrative that affords first-rate entertainment, a young English schoolteacher, Heather Mallender, vanishes on the Greek island of Rhodes. With her at the time was Harry Barnett, who at age 53 feels his life to have been a succession of small failures. To clear his name, Harry must locate her. But was she kidnapped or murdered, or did she disappear of her own volition? Heather had been seeing a psychiatrist, disconsolate over the death of her sister, the victim of an IRA bomb. As Harry shuttles between England and Rhodes, teasing out the tangled strands of Heather's fate, he stumbles into a web of betrayal, treachery, love, blackmail and murder. The solution is tied to his close friend and to a pivotal incident in his own childhood. Despite a plot of almost too labyrinthine complexity, this civilized romantic thriller delivers. Goddard ( Painting the Darkness ) has a great literary gift, and his middle-aged hero, who battles hypocrisy, corruption and time's unstoppable flow, is engaged in an identity quest graced with moments of poignancy and power. (Jan.)