On a mild autumn afternoon in 1882, William Trenchard sits smoking his pipe in the garden of his comfortable family home. When the creak of the garden gate heralds the arrival of an unexpected stranger, he is puzzled but not alarmed. He cannot know the destruction this man will wreak on all he holds most dear.
©1989 Robert and Vaunda Goddard (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd
Rating scale: 5=Loved it, 4=Liked it, 3=Ok, 2=Disappointed, 1=Hated it. I look for well developed characters, compelling stories.
I detest spoilers, so I have been wracking my brain trying to decide how to write a useful review of this book without giving away crucial information. Clearly the central mystery is to determine whether James Norton is really Sir James Davenall returned from the dead. The multitude of characters take sides for or against, with several being uncertain. I took all three positions at different times. This long and densely plotted mystery gives up its clues sparsely and cunningly, requiring you to pay close attention and remember what you’ve heard especially regarding names and dates. The Davenall family has more skeletons in their closets than a whole host of haunted houses. Different interested parties are tracking down different skeletons, resulting in the puzzle pieces being distributed among a variety of characters acting on their own agendas, and not necessarily sharing with the others. Sometimes I thought I had a thread untangled only to be confounded by new information from another direction. I really did have to wait to the end to get all the puzzle pieces in place, and there were still surprises once I got there, with a hint of menace left in the final scene.
This is my first Goddard book, but not the last. The writing is wonderful, and the reading by Michael Kitchen puts this on my list of best narrated books. He is by turns smooth, intense, emotional, cruel and bewildered. He handles male and female, young and old voices believably, adding drama and atmosphere without calling distracting attention to himself. A tour de force performance that has me looking for more of his readings.
I have listened to a lot of Goddard's books and this one is easily in the top three if not the best. You quickly get into the characters and scene of the 1800s and the twists of plot keep you wanting for more. Typically I feel Goddard's books don't have the great ending but are enjoyable for the story and characters. This one has both. The narrator should get 6 stars. Highest recommendation in my book.
I would listen again for two reasons. Primarily for Michael Kitchen's compelling voice. I felt like the snakes in Ireland when they heard the Pied Piper's music. I could hardly shut it off.
The story had me feeling as if I were on a literary tilt-a-whirl. I didn't want it to end.
Robert Goddards novels are similar in style and something I definitely enjoy.
Everything. His voice is incredible. I was so taken by it that ,as I said I couldn't shut off the book.
This book is so complex, and intricate, that I am amazed how the author could keep the story line in his head. Truly a genius.
A very entertaining mystery about a family with a very complicated past. When a stranger appears in town claiming to be the long-presumed-dead son, everyone takes sides either believing him or claiming he is an impostor. Is he, or isn't he, you wonder...and wonder. Every character has his or her own agenda when pursuing the answer, allowing Mr. Goddard to feed you bits and pieces of the puzzle from various directions. You think you have figured it out, only to be confounded time and time again by the next revelation.
There are times when the scenes could have used some editing, and there are one or two instances when the characters' actions seem a bit of a stretch. However, my interest never waned.
This was my first Goddard mystery, but I have already downloaded a second.
Mr. Kitchen's performance, as other reviewers have mentioned, is top notch.
I ENJOYED THE BOOK,ITS INTRIGUING PLOT,THE EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE, AND ESPECIALLY THE FINE,IF A LITTLE OLD-FASHONED, LANGUAGE.RECOMMENDED.
Though longer than it needs to be, this thriller keeps the reader on tender hooks. The author weaves a psychological tale with so many ins and outs that the reader will be constantly mesmerized. One vacillates every few minutes between certainty and uncertainty over what the truth really is in this engaging mystery. Michael Kitchen's mellifluous voice is the icing on the cake.
I loved the psychology of the choices of several characters .
Not a thing.
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
Good story from Robert Goddard, though not my favourite.
That is simply my personal preference.
An audio book I expect to listen to again, as I have done with all Goddard's novels so far..
Michael Kitchen adds greatly to any book I have heard him read, and is a joy to hear as he has such an expressive voice.
The story does give rise to wondering about morality when it comes to sexual relationships and the nature of a personal guilt for the deeds of others. While women do feature in this story they seem to have little to say.Yet what they do have to say seems to show a way through a seeming man made impasse.
The story is a little like the untangling of tangled fishing line or skeins of wool.
Say something about yourself!
Really well done! Great performance and imaginative story, done in the style of Sherlock Holmes.
It will keep you guessing all the way, and even though it is a period piece the feelings, desires, actions of the charactures could all apply in a current day situation just as well. This book really makes you take a look at human emotions and what they can cause us to believe, and do. It keeps you on your toes, because whom is the protaganist, or antagonist is not always so black and white throughout the story. This goes in the Best of Audible list for me
lots of intrigue
I have enjoyed every Robert Goddard book either audio or paperback
only part way through
So far the story is gripping and mysterious - unlike a paperback I cannot easily skip to the last pages and cheat!
I'm a technician that does a lot of driving for his job. I use the "windshield" time to listen to audiobooks.
It's been a long time since I gave something 5 stars across the board. This is not my normal genre, (it takes place during the 1880's) but don't let that deter you. This is a exceptionally good mystery. It seemed that every time I thought I had it figured out, I was wrong. This book is one of the better books I've read in the last year. I give it 96 out of 100.
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