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Play to the End Play to the End Play to the End
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Play to the End Play to the End Play to the End

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  563 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Intricate, fascinating and deeply satisfying to the last page -- another classic Robert Goddard mystery.
Actor Toby Flood, formerly of big and small screen but now seldom seen on either, arrivesin Brighton with the other cast members of the Joe Orton play Lodger in the Throat. They have been on tour since September, but hopes of a West End transfer have been abandoned and
ebook, 369 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Delta (first published 1988)
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Much of the plot was frustrating and tedious. I understand there wouldn't be much of a book if the characters called the police instead of doing their own investigation but I really wished they'd had better reasons for not doing so. Near the end, I got so angry with the stupid stuff the main character did I could barely stand it but hung in hoping it would somehow be explained so it all made sense. It was not. Quite a bummer, this one.
If this book were a matinee performance at the local theater, I’d probably pay the ticket price for it to while away an agreeable couple of hours, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t get to the West End of whatever I meant by “local.” Our hero Toby Flood is affable enough, but I just couldn’t buy his protestations that he still loved Jenny, his leading lady. More likely, he was willing to give up his own onstage engagements and play detective because he had got bored of the production he wa ...more
Bryan Higgs
Number 16 in my anal, Robert Goddard novel reading quest.

This one's a good one. Unlike the previous two, it doesn't go far-afield at the end, to explain what has been happening -- either geographically, or plot-wise.

A common characteristic of a Robert Goddard novel is that you don't know what's happening, but the layers of the plot onion are slowly peeled away, and then you think that you know what happened (or a little of it), but then -- sudden clever twist (for which Goddard is famous) -- and
Robert Goddard certainly knows how to get a tiger by the tail! In typical Goddard style "play to the end " starts innocuously enough with a story that seems likely to be exceedingly boring and a lead character who is far from attractive. Yet we are slowly but surely drawn into the web of confusion and deceit. Why is Derek Oswin making a minor nuisance of himself around Toby Flood's ex wife's business? What is so important about his oh so boring history of a Brighton plastic firm that has been cl ...more
This is my first Robert Goddard novel, but it certainly will not be my last. This story is wonderfully plotted, fluid and intelligent. Duplicity and intrigue are the order of the day and will keep you reading. Unlike most mystery/suspense novels, Mr. Goddard's manipulations and story telling expertise do not "telegraph" the ending when your half way through the book. Others have described the plotline, I will not do so. Just know that if your in the mood for some engrossing storytelling, this is ...more
Erich Sysak
Very simple plot, but well-written. Moves fast. Lively first person voice and an enjoyable main character. Silly ending, but OK. Many of these thrillers don't end well."
Another excellent Goddard tale. I liked the way he made a parallel tale between our hero Toby Flood and the life of Joe Orton and, being set in Brighton offered some lovely scene decriptions.... I am getting the feeling that a standard element of a Goddard novel is the break down of a couples relationship - divorce features a lot and in this novel we have "estrangement". its often the lingering feelings the male has for the wife that gets him in trouble. I can't believe that a mildly intelligent ...more
Iowa City Public Library
Middle-aged actor Tobe Flood is stuck in a theatrical tour that’s sputtering to an end. The last week of it’s lackluster run is in Brighton, where his soon to be ex-wife is living with her new fiancé. Tobe’s hoping to somehow convince her to come to her senses and take him back. By the end of the week, though, he finds himself in the middle of a decades-old mystery that threatens to end his career, if not his life.

This is the third Robert Goddard novel I’ve read, and the one I liked the best. Wh
I think someone else has said that he/she was wondering why the main characters don't just call the police instead of trying to play Miss Marples. Valid question - the idea that Toby wants to win back his wife so much that he wants to "do what a man's gotta do" is a bit thin. He's a fading actor not an action hero.

Anyway the plot is clever (relying a little too much on Flood reacting predictably to follow clues set by someone who has never met him before though) and there's little chance you'll
Rob Innis
This one is a bit of a slow burner, you have to trust Goddard and he sometimes delivers. The action takes place in Brighton (seem to be stuck there just finished Brighton Rock)where thespian Toby tries to help his estranged wife and win her back. But as the action warms up he becomes embroiled in a much bigger and more dangerous situation - as he crosses paths with a variety of characters, some of whom are not going to make it to the end of the book.
It becomes gripping but without being overly c
This is a British thriller of sorts. Our hero is an actor who stars in a weak play touring England. He lands in Brighton, where is (separated) wife has taken up with a local industrialist with a secret past. THe characters are witty and the plot is complicated, but frankly, it is hard to buy into this story. Like many English novels of this genre it is all about a complicated plot put toghether like a Swiss watch. I doubt many crimes are really like this; live is too full of chaos to allow such ...more
Catrien Deys
Nice quick holiday fix.
Ian Rodwell
Could not leave the book alone, I just wanted to know what would happen to Toby next! A real page turner for me.

As ever with Robert Goddard's novels someone puts a spark to some explosive material from the past and it all explodes in the present, changing lives or ending lives forever.

Set in Brighton so I was able to draw on my memories of the town too.

A much recommended novel.
Joe Stamber
Not Robert Goddard's best, but still an enjoyable read. Has all the usual hallmarks of a Goddard novel and written with his customary eloquence, but I found it a bit barmy in places and wasn't as rivetted as I normally would be. An enjoyable read, but not quite up to Goddard's high standards.
Barbara Bryan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Carter
Loved this book. It seemed a bit different to some other Goddard books I have read (which is most of them). I really liked the main character and the setting in Brighton. I think there may be more books with this character I will seek out. Highly recommended
Not the cleverest or most subtle thriller I have ever read but, as I currently spend some of my nights tending to the requirements of an elderly and ailing pet, it has been good to have this for company during my currently fractured sleep patterns.
A Goddard is always a great way to start a vacation ...he makes sure you don't spend that first day of the break napping. As always, plot-twists, revelations and impeccable pacing. Still not quite up to his early 5-star novels though.
Overall, a very entertaining page-turner. Goddard is a very talented writer. The book fulfills its purpose, but it lacks real depth. It has no real meaning beyond its surface value. That is why I give it only 3 stars.
Actor in England is playing in a "dying" play in Brighton. Is visited by his ex-wife who's about to remarry. Something is amiss and character, Tony Flood, track down the facts about her finacee. As usual, a good read.
Darren Worthy
Another convouleted page-turner. I had no chance of guessing what was happening. My only misgiving was that a lot of the story depends on Toby working out difficult clues left by someone else.
Started out slow and I almost gave up but didn't have anything else to read. Now I am into the story and will finish it.
I started enjoying this book but it is not going to become a favorite author.
This is the second time I have read this book (nearly finished it)and it is as good second time around as the first. Goddard always delights. A great writer and a thrilling read.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Good book. It's the first book by RObert Goddard I've read, I have lots more (I got a 10 book set) and look forwards to working my way through them.
Took awhile to get going but then the twists and turns came which you can always count on with Robert Goddard. Always like what I call an easy read.
Marie Bouteille
The beginning and the end may be a bit long and the end a bit too sentimental. But the story gradually becomes gripping.
Some of the twists are predictable but many are not, and Goddard gets his characters true to type even they can be a bit stock.
A nice thriller to read if you're in for an enjoyable read. Not very unique, but well written and with a good plot.
I was given this book and read it. Nice enough but reminds me of a bit of ..made for tv...formula
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In a writing career spanning more than twenty years, Robert Goddard's novels have been described in many different ways - mystery, thriller, crime, even historical romance. He is the master of the plot twist, a compelling and engrossing storyteller and one of the best known advocates for the traditional virtues of pace, plot and narrative drive.
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