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Caught in the Light

3.92  ·  Rating Details ·  1,140 Ratings  ·  85 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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Brenda H
Aug 03, 2016 Brenda H rated it really liked it
This is my first time reading a book by Robert Goddard. Other members of my reading group, who are familiar with his writing, were better prepared for some of the twists and deviations we took in this book. :)

Ian, a photographer on assignment in Vienna meets a mysterious woman, Marian. After they begin a whirlwind affair, the decision is made to leave their respective spouses. Ian returns to England, breaks up with his wife and heads to the proposed rendezvous. Marian fails to show and, worse, a
Jul 15, 2008 Sandie rated it really liked it
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
Dec 06, 2013 LG rated it liked it
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
Aug 16, 2016 Carol rated it really liked it
Caught in the Light by Robert Goddard

From the Book:
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 psychotherapist, Daphne Sanger. She too is looking for someone: a former patient w
Aug 19, 2016 Eadie rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
I love Goddard's writing and found this book to be rather unique. I think this one was very different from his other books because it seemed like a supernatural/ghost-like plot and he doesn't usually tell that type of story. He also kept us guessing until the last page. I read this with a discussion group and I looked forward to reading each and every section as I was very curious what was really going on. I now look forward to my next Goddard book as I can't get enough of his storytelling. I hi ...more
Jul 04, 2008 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, england
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.
Linda Schwartz
Feb 01, 2010 Linda Schwartz rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 22, 2013 Andrea rated it did not like it
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
Aug 31, 2010 Alison rated it really liked it
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)
Dec 22, 2009 CLM rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, suspense
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...
Barry Bridges
Feb 03, 2014 Barry Bridges rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drama
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!
Oct 16, 2011 Bettie☯ rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Hayes and all Mystery lovers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rebecca McNutt
A vivid mystery with loads of imagery, suspense, originality and depth, Caught in the Light is definitely worth reading. I loved the photography elements and Goddard's writing style.
I've had this book at home for a while and finally picked it up a few days ago. And wow, it was so worth reading. Ian is on assignment in Vienna when he meets this woman Marian whilst taking photographs. She confronts him as the she is in the photo he has taken. Ian is attracted to her and suggests breakfast at a café which she declines and leaves. When he arrives at the café she is there and they have breakfast together and subsequently end up in bed together. They spend the week enjoying each ...more
Jan 29, 2012 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 19, 2009 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
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
Bryan Higgs
Aug 06, 2012 Bryan Higgs rated it really liked it
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
Dave Fellows
Jun 04, 2016 Dave Fellows rated it it was amazing
5/5 stars. "His best book yet", said one reviewer on the back of the book, but somebody somewhere will say that about any book really, won't they? I didn't believe it for a second, having witnessed the slow decline of Goddard's work since 'Past Caring'.

But there is redemption for Goddard here. There is more than just setting up an interweaving past and present and then killing off people in the name of some dark conspiracy. That exists here, of course, but for the first time 'Past Caring', the m
Jan 22, 2014 KerryH rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ian Jarrett is visiting Vienna on a photography assignment when he meets a beautiful woman named Marian Esguard and falls madly in love. He plans to go back to England and end his strained marriage, while Marian tells her husband she's leaving him too. When Marian sends him a note telling him she's not coming and destroys all the photos he took of her, he can't let her go. Robert Goddard then spins the reader into an intricate plot, while weaving the intrigue and suspense of the story line.

The c
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?

Apr 24, 2012 FittenTrim rated it liked it
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 a
Stephen Puleston
Sep 21, 2013 Stephen Puleston rated it really liked it

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
Mitch McCrimmon
Mar 21, 2016 Mitch McCrimmon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have enjoyed over a dozen of Robert Goddard's novels and he is one of my very favourite authors. This is one of his best if you like unexpected twists and turns. It starts innocently enough, as all of his books do, with a photographer on assignment in Vienna where he meets and falls in love with a mysterious woman who subsequently disappears. The protagonist follows her trail across southern England and as the mystery unfolds the reader is in for a roller-coaster ride of unexpected twists righ ...more
Apr 06, 2012 David rated it it was ok
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
Apr 11, 2011 Joe Stamber rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper, read-2013
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
Oct 19, 2014 Rennie rated it really liked it
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.
C.J. Hill
Sep 17, 2016 C.J. Hill rated it really liked it
This is a great page-turner of a novel with a plot that twists through time and place. The intrigue and suspense that develops as a result of a moment's mistake made by the protagonist five years previous to the time period of the novel makes compelling reading. The addition of time travel into the Regency era was an enjoyable and almost believable addition to the plot line.
A very well-written and plotted novel.
Mar 04, 2013 Jon rated it really liked it
This thriller is up there with Set In Stone - one of Robert Goddard's best books. Fatal Attraction meets Jane Eyre along the way. As usual Goddard explores the space between who we really are and who we like to think we are. We all remember "the one that got away"...not always a good idea to go looking for them.
Oct 10, 2015 Jue rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very imaginative dark novel well crafted and researched. Discripton of the Dorset towns were excellent and I related to these having lived in Dorset for a few years. I did struggle to keep focused on the history side and found myself skimming these parts to get back to the actual story teller and his continued search for Eris.
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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.
More about Robert Goddard...

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“Photographs were more than my livelihood. They were part of my life. The way light fell on a surface never failed to tug at my imagination. The way one picture, a single snapshot, could capture the essence of a time and place, a city, a war, a human being, was embedded in my consciousness. One day, one second, I might close the shutter on the perfect photograph.” 0 likes
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