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Beyond Recall Paperback – February 24, 2009
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A carefully crafted tale of suspense, Beyond Recall interweaves present and past as Christian Napier sets out to discover the truth behind his great-uncle's murder, committed during the days of rationing and privation following the Second World War. That death provided the foundation of the Napier family's subsequent prosperity, but Christian is led to question the verdict reached in the case by the more recent suicide of an old and abandoned friend. The whole of the action is relayed through Napier's eyes and voice as he struggles to sort out his understanding of what happened before he was born, his own memories as a child, the alcohol-hazed intervening years, and the current arm's-length relationship he maintains with the surviving members of his family.
Goddard's sense of place is strong. The Cornish market town of Truro, with its 19th-century cathedral looming over events spanning a century, provides the backdrop for the mystery and also for the shifting fortunes of the British experience. Descriptions of a grand family home transformed into a hotel and conference center, the tiny chain-pulled ferry crossing an estuary as it has done for generations, and Cornwall's unchanging and temperate beauty offer convincing detail beyond the usual place-name dropping.
Although the denouement is muddled by a confusion of identities and too many people thought dead resurfacing (both to Napier's dismay and delight), the general scheme is entertaining enough and just within the bounds of what's believable, given Goddard's manipulation of the reader's expectations. The central themes of revenge and greed lose some of their power when mixed with a subplot colored by a '90s obsession with sexual misdeeds, but these flaws do not detract from the pleasure of the whole. An enjoyable read, fraught with the tension Goddard's readers have come to expect. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
As he does so smoothly and so well (Out of the Sun, etc.), Goddard again creates a narrator who uncovers secrets buried in the past that cast grim shadows on later generations. Here he takes classic English mystery staples?a grand old house in Cornwall, a family fortune in dispute, murder and blackmail?and concocts an absorbing suspense novel with a modern sensibility. Alienated from his family for some years, Chris Napier returns home to the Cornish town of Truro for his niece's wedding at Tredower House, the family estate (now a hotel and conference center) bequeathed by his adventurous great uncle, Joshua Carnoweth. Guests are reminded of an unpleasant event when Chris's boyhood friend, Nicky Lanyon, shows up at the reception to announce that his father, who was hanged for the murder of Uncle Joshua, was innocent of the deed. Nicky culminates his plea by committing suicide. In Nicky's memory, Chris investigates the 34-year-old murder case, while one mysterious woman goes after his money and another wins his heart. Goddard intricately interweaves the life stories of three generations, adding texture to the parallel plots: the love between his great-uncle and Nicky's grandmother, the moral crises of the WWII generation and Chris's own tale of 1960s rebellion. As usual, Goddard is meticulous with background details and local color, and his characters, with their good manners and dark secrets, seem to have stepped out of a Daphne Du Maurier novel. There are enough surprises in this tale of switched identities and lingering resentments to keep readers steadily engrossed.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The story spans a period of time from the late 1940's to the early 1980's and examines the impact of a 35 year old murder on the two families directly involved. The characters expose us to the full gamut of emotions as they experience friendship, honor, lost love, avarice, hate, vengeance, and the strong antipathy between family members..........and...... as with many novels set "across the pond" money and social status are the name of the game and losing is not a viable option.
The plot of BEYOND RECALL has as many twists and turns as a Grand Prix course with the same potentially hazardous consequences should a wrong turn be taken by our protagonist.
The main thing I appreciate about Goddard's writing is that his stories are always logical in their resolution. No inconsistencies, abrupt endings or surprises out of left field. The solution was always there for us to see, it just took a while for it to come into focus.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
With that said, I am an avid reader of mysteries of various types.Read more