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Caught In The Light
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Caught In The Light

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  874 ratings  ·  68 reviews
On assignment in Vienna, photographer Ian Jarrett falls desperately in love with a woman he meets by chance, Marian Esguard. Back in England, he breaks up with his wife and goes to meet Marian at an agreed rendezvous. Marian fails to show.

Searching desperately for her, he stumbles on a Dorset churchyard full of the gravestones of dead Esguards. He also meets a psychotherap
Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 16th 1999 by Corgi (first published January 1st 1998)
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In Pale Battalions by Robert GoddardPast Caring by Robert GoddardInto the Blue by Robert GoddardPainting The Darkness by Robert GoddardCaught In The Light by Robert Goddard
Best Robert Goddard Books
5th out of 23 books — 31 voters
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Non Police/PI Mysteries
6th out of 225 books — 47 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,299)
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This is a novel of love, loss, deception and amateur detection. Part ghost story, part historical mystery with a visit to the magical beginnings of early photography thrown in for good measure.

Goddard has outdone himself in executing this intricate suspense filled plot loaded with double-crosses, theft and murder as well as the deeper themes of love and loss.

Goddard's talent is such that this acrostic like "puzzle" engages the reader comple
Reading a Goddard novel, you feel suspended between fact and tantalizingly true fiction. He describes scenes from Sussex to Snaefellsnes (in Iceland) with photographic clarity and creates compelling stories out of slices of obscure history. Take the woman at the focal point of this mystery: Who is Marian Esguard? Where is she? Does she – did she ever – exist? Goddard’s women are much like Hitchcock’s, and no femme is more fatale than this one; none will leave you more suspended between question ...more
Linda Schwartz
I think Robert Goddard is incapable of writing a bad book. I first discovered him years ago when I ran out of books on vacation and picked up one of his titles at a bookstore at Heathrow Airport. Sadly, his books are not nearly as popular in the US as in his native England -- a real shame in my opinion! Whether the story is contemporary or takes place decades or centuries ago, his characters are well drawn and the narrative superb. It's hard to put one of his books down, but most are too long to ...more
My favorite Goddard by far - more intense than his others and the photography aspect is handled brilliantly. A great place to start if you haven't tried him.
Oh how fab - I was utterly caught up in the twists and turns of this book. I took it on holiday but ran out of time (and since discovered, after all my trials at finding a book set in Norfolk, that a significant part of this book is set there!). I've read nearly all of Robert's books - this is one of the best (and I've enjoyed the rest)
I would really like to know who borrowed this book and did not return it! The dust jacket, forlorn and empty, stares at me reproachfully from time to time. I think it was someone in my book group, and I *will* find you...
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I'd read one Robert Goddard book before when I spotted this one on a shelf in a charity shop, when I read the back I knew I had to buy it, because it seemed so relevant to my life.

The books main thems are: photography (main character is a photographer and so am I), the invention of photography and past life regression set around a thriller/crime basis. Some of the locations mentioned were also quite poignant to me - Chichester (I work in chi), Hounslow (I come from Isleworth right next door) and
A struggling photographer, Ian Jarrett is given the chance to photograph Vienna in the winter. While there he is presented with the opportunity to emabrk on a short and passionate affair with a beautiful woman - no ties. Seems like a opportunity too good to pass, which he dosn't. But the reasons why the liaison took place are soon to become apparant. When Jarrett returns to the UK his life slowly unravels as his past is picked apart and his future destroyed. Who is doing this- and why - are slow ...more
An older book with the distraction of cassette tapes and camera film being used to further the story but intricate and interesting right to the end. History and mystery with a dash of romance all wrapped up with suspense - what's not to like. Best of all, unlike the other time I tried a book by this author, it was a one and done - not a trilogy so the pace was perfect as it had not been slowed down to cover 3 books.
Bev Taylor
strange is the only word i can find to describe this

the story was about how the invention of photography was actually accomplished earlier than recorded but had never been acknowledged

the only message to me was that pictures imitate life - or vice versa. a real life game of truth and consequences

make of it what u will

Bryan Higgs
The eleventh in my quest to read Robert Goddard's books in chronological order.

After a lapse, where his books were not quite as good (albeit still absorbing), the last one (Beyond Recall) and this one seem to indicate that he's back to his normal, good work.

I never describe the details of the book -- you can always look that up in the main description on Goodreads or Amazon, or even, the author's website.

This book had all the twists and red herrings that I've become
Barry Bridges
This has to be his best book to date. Apart from the Barnett stories I'm reading his books in chronological order and this one grabs from the word go (with sex!) and layers tension over intrigue in equal measure. So good it has consumed my waking hours!
Thomas Strömquist
"Probably not one of his best, but Goodard is still miles above most thriller writers. First two-thirds of the book had me hooked, then the story became a bit unbelievable and finally I was taken in by the bitter end."
Diving into a Robert Goddard novel is like diving into a million knots. The thrill is watching how his intricate plots unravel all the knots. But in the end, the novel is judged by how well Goddard put the original knots together.

Caught in the Light is a great page-turner; a quick-as-lightning read... but when looking on the plot's construction, it's not a crisp and logical as his best works, which are Past Caring and In Pale Battalions . Those book's mystery knots are just as fantastical as t
Tim Corke
A stunning; powerful and controlled suspense novel that will leave you hooked for more.

The actions of the past are woven with the actions of the present but the extent and scale of what this means are still to be determined. Determining what you can learn from history is more difficult than you think especially if hidden agendas are in play.

Ian Jarrett's past had caught up with him but how and who this also involved became more threatening and sinister. Are people who they say they are there?

During the first half of the book, I was intrigued. I was willing to suspend my disbelief because I really wanted to enjoy this mystery. It had all the hallmarks of a good thrilling read, and the author managed to keep me hooked for a while. But then the plot became more and more convoluted and along the way, I was no longer able to suspend that disbelief. Creating a complicated but somehow logical plot is a skill not many writers possess, just adding twists and turns upon red herrings and expla ...more
First Robert Goddard I've read. This was a real page turner and I didn't want to let it down. Will definitely look for his other books.
Claire Greener
Thoroughly enjoyed this thriller and read in two sittings. Completely unexpected ending, didn't see it coming in the slightest!
Stephen Puleston

Part ghost story part love story this is an engaging narrative full of great writing. Ian Jarrett is drawn into a complex web of deceit from a chance encounter on the streets of Vienna when visiting on a photographic assignment. But his hopes of an enduring relationship is dashed on his return and the author spins a web with the confidence and clarity that you would expect from Goddard. He controls the pace of the narrative well although at times I felt that it dragged. With sufficient twists an
I normally love Goddard's books and cannot put them down. In fact he would be my go-to author if I want a guaranteed good read. Sadly Caught in the Light singularly failed to capture me and I gave up just before the half way mark. Like many of his readers I often identify in some way with his everyman lead roles and when this is not the case I at least warm to the principal. But that never happened this time around and I also failed to warm to the convoluted telling of the story that generally h ...more
Joe Stamber
Every time a pick up another Robert Goddard novel, I wonder what complex plot he can come up with next. Caught in the Light is another product of his wonderful imagination developed into a fascinating story full of mystery, intrigue and of course many twists and turns. Read the blurb if you want an overview of the plot, but if you are a Goddard fan wondering if Caught in the Light is worth reading, it is, and if you are new to Goddard and looking for a great historical mystery then you've found ...more
Mary L.
The beginning and the middle were 4 stars, but the last third of the book went slightly downhill, so I am giving "Caught in the Light" a 3 star rating. Would go 3 and a half if I could.
Stella Riley
I've read a number of Robert Goddard's books. I particularly enjoyed 'Hand in Glove' and 'Dying to Tell'. But 'Caught in the Light' stands out for me because of the link to Fox Talbot and his invention of photography. Mr Goddard's books are always gripping - though extremely complex - and this one is no exception; but I found the details he provides about early photography fascinating.
Not his best. Just thought story to far fetched. Good ending though
More twists and turns than the average maze and you need to keep your wits about you not to lose the thread of the past versus the present. Finding the recordings of the imagined past very drawn out I started to lose momentum. Keep reading it gets to be a very good read in the second half. Would have been a 5 star if I had appreciated the fantasised segments.
Clever interweaving of an unidentified 17th (18th ? don’t have the book in front of me) century political letter-writer and a current day child abduction. Our somewhat hapless hero stumbles around trying to pull the two mysteries together but is foiled by the villains at each and every turn. This pattern gets a tad repetitious but still, an engaging pursuit.
Like photography? Like travel? Like mystery? Then this book is for you! When I started reading, I thought I had read it before, but as the story unfolded I realized it was something new. The main character, in search of someone who may not exist, keeps us in suspense until the end, while encountering some interesting characters along the way.
Another excellent novel by the master of the plot-twist. There are few things as enjoyable than when each component of the whole Goddard picture comes into focus. Some great characters, none of whom, of course, can be trusted.
Wendy Percival
This was the first Robert Goddard book I read, having searched him out following reading an interview with him in a magazine article. I remember being thrilled at the way the story twisted and turned, turning to my husband and saying, "you have to read this book!" (Which he did and agreed with me.) I've been a fan ever since!
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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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