Synopses & Reviews
Harry Barnett lives the life of an Englishman on permanent vacation in Greece, house-sitting for a powerful friend and hiding from a past disgrace. That is, until a guest at the villa disappears on a walking tour, and Harry is the number one suspect. While a Greek detective tries to trap him, and the British tabloids pillory him at home, Harry's conscience is his worst enemy of all. What happened to young, beautiful Heather Mallender? Who took her and why didn't Harry realize that something was amiss?
Suddenly, a man steeped in failure has found a purpose, retracing the strange, twisting route that led to Heather's vanishing. But the more he learns, the less he knows. Until Harry finds himself at the heart of a dangerous puzzle whose pieces are scattered everywhere: in the realm of British politics, in the beds of adulterous lovers, in the past, the present, and most of all, amid the secrets of a killer...
"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Ultimate page-turner and late-night obsessive read." Rocky Mountain News
"False friends, veiled threats...anybody who reads the first 50 pages will want to finish the rest without getting up." Kirkus Reviews
"Goddard's elegant and gothic portrait of blackmail, deception, and death is hampered by its meandering pace and intricacy. Still, the novel is ultimately successful." Library Journal
"A cracker, twisting, turning and exploding with real skill." Daily Mirror (London)
"A book that will push the edges of late night fatigue...had me utterly spellbound...cracking good entertainment." Washington Post
Harry Barnett is a middle-aged failure, leading a shabby existence in the shadow of a past disgrace, reduced to caretaking a friend's villa on the island of Rhodes and working in a bar to earn his keep. Then a guest at the villa a young woman he had instantly and innocently warmed to disappears on a mountain peak.
Under suspicion of her murder, Harry stumbles on a set of photographs taken by Heather Mallender in the weeks before her disappearance. Desperately, obsessed by the mystery that has changed his life, he begins to trace back the movements and encounters that led to the moment when she vanished into the blue. The trail leads him back to England, to a world he thought he had left for ever, and at every step of the way a new and baffling light is shed on all the assumptions that have made Harry what he is.
About the Author
Robert Goddard graduated from Cambridge University and worked as an educational administrator before becoming a full-time novelist. The author of sixteen bestselling novels, including Sight Unseen, Play to the End, In Pale Battalions, and Hand in Glove, which will be forthcoming from Delta, Goddard lives in England, where he is at work on his next novel.