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Past Caring


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About the Author

ROBERT GODDARD was born in Hampshire and read History at Cambridge. His first novel, Past Caring, was an instant bestseller. Since then his books have captivated readers worldwide with their edge-of-the-seat pace and their labyrinthine plotting. His first Harry Barnett novel, Into the Blue, was winner of the first WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award and was dramatized for TV, starring John Thaw.


Paul Shelley's reading is sensitive and sets the tone for this tale of a life gone hideously wrong. Twenty-six years after Edwin Strafford's death, historian Martin Radford is challenged by a whimsical, wealthy, and elderly South African now living in Strafford's home in Madeira to find out why his life did not fulfill its promise. Radford learns that nothing is academic about the life and death of Strafford, Member of Parliament, British Consul in Madeira, and one-time colleague of Winston Churchill and Lloyd George. People are still protecting the secrets that Radford is seeking, and at least one of them is willing to murder to keep them. Shelley adjusts the pitch and inflection of his voice and the pacing of his words to portray a variety of characters: the eager, honest, self-confident young Strafford and the weary, cynical World War I veteran whom he becomes; the cold, evil villain; the charming seductress; and the bluff, good-natured Churchill. Recommended for most mystery collections. Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Written in clear, resonant prose, Goddard's first novel, nominated for the Booker prize, is a poised telling of a complex tale. A fascinating ``could this be true?'' story within a story is reminiscent of Josephine Tey's Daughter of Time, while Thomas Hardy's tragic characters are deliberately echoed in the Edwardian British politician Edwin Strafford and the troubled historian Martin Radford, who has been chosen to research Strafford's tormented life. Radford finds a memoir that contains hints of a political and moral crime, past but not forgotten, so devastating that even in 1977 it reverberates through the corridors of power. As he reads the memoir, Radford eventually comes to regard the dead Home Secretary as a friend, even as his search uncovers corruption and murder. The novel's subtlety is reflected in the different meanings of its title, and the satisfying climax weaves together the strands of past and present. In one sense a historical thriller, and in another a romantic novel of a love affair gone disastrously wrong, this is, in any case, a wonderful read. (January 13)

"A wonderful read...the satisfying climax weaves together the strands of past and present....A poised telling of a complex tale." --Publishers Weekly

"Combines the expert suspense manipulation skills of a Daphne DuMaurier romance with those of a John Le Carre thriller."--New York Times "One of the best novel I've read in a long time...I loved every one of its 500 pages"--Washington Post "A hornet's nest of jealousy, blackmail and violence. Engrossing"--Daily Mail "A complex trail of blackmail and murder. Recommended"--Daily Express

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