Past Caring
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Past Caring

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,002 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Why should distinguished Edwardian Cabinet minister Edwin Strafford resign at the height of his parliamentary career? Why does the woman he loves so suddenly and coldly reject him? Why, seventy years later, should people go to such lengths — even as far as murder — to prevent the truth from being revealed?

Martin Radford, history graduate, disaffected and unemployed, leaps...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Corgi (first published 1986)
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In Pale Battalions by Robert GoddardPast Caring by Robert GoddardInto the Blue by Robert GoddardCaught In The Light by Robert GoddardPainting The Darkness by Robert Goddard
Best Robert Goddard Books
2nd out of 23 books — 28 voters
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. RowlingTo the Grave by Steve  Robinson
UKAKF Top 100 Books
48th out of 100 books — 36 voters

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Community Reviews

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I stopped reading another book mid-stream because I was so excited when I got this one. I read a list of books recommended by some authors and Stephen King recommended this author so highly, it reminded me of me when I get excited about an author or book. So far I am in love with this book - it's a great mystery with several layers of mystery. I'm loving it! We'll see how it ends...
Great book!!!!
Once I find a writer I like, I tend to binge on them. I stop when I have had enough or when I realize I am about to exhaust the oeuvre. In the mid-90s I read all of Robertson Davies and was sad when I all I had left was personal letters and the like. I similarly tore through Patrick Robinson's and Dennis Lehane's crime novels and the Barset Chronicles by Anthony Trollope. Robert Goddard's body of work turned out to be too large to consume all at once. Already in the teens when I started him, I r...more
This is my first Goddard book and I listened to the audio version.

I thoroughly enjoyed this long, convoluted, unpredictable and clever novel! It does not clearly fit into any genre as it includes elements of political wheeling and dealing, crime, war and romance.

The story follows a young man, Edwin Strafford, who is starting out on his political career just before WW1. He falls in love with a suffragette which is not going to help his career but he is won over by her. One day he is sacked from h...more
Thoroughly enjoyable read...and perfect for a holiday. A book that delivers on all the promises made by the blurbs at the back, this is indeed a compelling novel about betrayal, jealousy, lies and other great ingredients. While much of the book uses turn-of-the-last century British politics as a background, this does not make the book any less interesting. Goddard manages to weave in historical events such as the Suffragette movement and the Boer War seamlessly into his plot. Great twists and un...more
I am past caring about Past Caring.This book is painfully boring unless you're seriously interested in dusty old British politics. I read the first 85 pages and realized I was forcing myself to continue because I so enjoyed In Pale Batallions. I'll certainly try more by this author, but am abandoning this one.
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Dec 04, 2011 Susanna - Censored by GoodReads rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Susanna - Censored by GoodReads by: Bettie and my mother
Would have been even better without quite so many "if I'd only known"s.
Joe Stamber
My first RG book was "Sight Unseen", picked up on a whim in a supermarket and enjoyed. Recently I came upon 6 of his books in a 3 for £5 promotion in Morrisons... so obviously I had to buy all 6 for £10! I decided to start with RG's first novel, the one I'm reviewing now. Martin, the narrator/protaganist, turns out to be a pretty pathetic chap. Despite being well qualified and having both teacher and historian on his CV, he is naive, gullible and misses some pretty obvious clues. Knowing that RG...more
Past Caring is my third and final book in the Great Transworld Crime Caper. The previous two books were easy picks, because I knew when I saw the subjects I definitely wanted to read those. The last book though was a tough choice, mostly because there were some amazing sounding books to choose from. In the end I picked Robert Goddard's book because it had a historical slant to it. And it turned out to be a good choice. The book is a fat novel, clocking in at 623 pages, but I had a hard time putt...more
I found this book took a long time to get into with the scene setting and the writing style hard going. I was tempted to abandon but as a book group read this was not an option. I was pleased I finished the book even though for me, it certainly wasn't a great read. It became predictable, it was obvious the beautiful Eve was a temptress up to no good and our main character Martin was weak and ineffective. The only likeable character in the book turned out to be Strafford's intended. The 'baddies...more
Read this one a long time ago and just remembered it. I loved this one. I went on to read other Robert Goddard books. They're kind of all the same in the way all Hitchcock movies are the same, which is to to say that they're all the same, and why shouldn't they be? They're great and fun. Goddard writes about men with pasts that come back to haunt them. I can't say I remember the story of this one well other than some scenes on the island of Madeira, layers of the past being revealed one by one.....more
A few months ago, I raved about Goddard's In Pale Battalions, but in some ways, this book is even better. It gets off to a quicker start as the novel's desperate & flawed hero takes a job which (any reader can see) is a set-up sure to destroy his life. Goddard's books follow a formula where the past is always loaded with secrets and scandals which will haunt a flawed protagonist searching for the truth. While these books are so great, I should note that the endings are always more downbeat...more
In 1977 a young historian tainted by scandal is hired to research a mystery: why, in the early 1900's, did a British cabinet minister abruptly disappear from politics and public view, including not marrying the woman to whom he was engaged? The historian's initial resource is the minister's personal journal, which indicates that the minister himself did not understand his loss of standing in his party or his rejection by his fiancee. Interesting and initially engaging premise. What I liked best...more
Hazel McHaffie
I've just read this book for the second time and I have to single it out for a special recommendation. It is absolutely brilliant. Evocative of places I love - Madeira and Devon. Craftily hinged around historical detail. Amazingly cleverly plotted and so gripping I didn't want to go out!
Quite the best book I've rerad in years. I'd love to hear if anyone else shares my enthusiasm for it.
I finally found a copy of this book when I was in NYC last week. It's really good so far!!! Now I know why Jim recommended it.:)
Bryan Higgs
I came across a reference to this author in a review of Tess Gerritsen's "The Bone Garden", where the reviewer basically said that Gerritsen was good, "but no Robert Goddard". So, always on the lookout for a new (to me) and promising mystery author, I looked him up, and borrowed this book, his first, from the local town library.

I am impressed! The writing is very good -- perhaps a little on the old-fashioned side, but in the sections based on Edwardian England that was quite proper. I consider t...more
I'm hovering between a 3 and a 4 on this.

I love Goddard's later books and this shares some good things with them: it's a gripping page-turner, written with intelligence and extensive background knowledge, while never getting above itself or claiming to be more than the clever piece of escapism it is. I liked the way that he paralleled many of the issues and themes of the Edwardian part of the story in the present day: e.g. the Suffragette movement was juxtaposed with a battle-of-the-sexes storyl...more
You too would reach the point where you were PAST CARING if the found that your perfect life had been wrenched from you; the love of your life had suddenly abandoned you and your once promising career was in tatters all for reasons unknown to you…….reasons that no one would explain but vehemently insisted were known to you.

Such is the fate of Edwin Strafford. Once a man with a promising political career as a British cabinet minister, contemporary and friend to the likes of Winston Churchill and...more
Take the Suffragette movement and blend it with high power political stakes including Churchill, Asquith and the like and throw in the intended marriage of a cabinet minister of the time and a leading suffragette. Edwin Strafford plans to marry Elizabeth Latimer but one of them has to give up their political life to make it happen. Edwin chooses to resign but after he does this Elizabeth completely shuns him and the Prime Minister refuses to take him back.

Why is Edwin shunned so suddenly and why...more
Past Caring by Robert Goddard 4/5

A disgraced historian and teacher, Martin Radford is offered the chance of a lifetime. The chance to investigate a man as disgraced as himself. A man that doesn't even understand or know why is has lost the love he has patiently waited for and planned with for so long. A man that has to all intents and purposes, disappeared from history.

Our fictional hero, Edwin Strafford's life fell apart in 1910. He was Home Secretary during England's Prime Minister Asquith's t...more
This is the second book I’ve read for the Great Transworld Crime Caper. As soon as I read the synopsis of the book I thought it sounded like my sort of book, within a few pages I knew I’d made a good choice.

The plot is split between the present (though that’s in the 1980s, back when the book was written) and the past, as historian Martin Radford tries to investigate what happened to Edwin Strafford back in the 1910s. Edwin’s story is told through his memoir, both plots are gripping and once they...more
Read for Transworld's Great Transworld Crime Caper

What appealed to me the most about Past Caring is the way it entwines two stories: Strafford’s memoir is told in its entirety, while in the here and now Martin Radford, our far-from-flawless protagonist searches for the answers that have painfully eluded Strafford in life. I immediately took to poor conscientious Edwin, so brutally condemned for crimes he appeared to have no knowledge of. Was this true though? Did he not tamper with the truth in...more
Thomas Strömquist
"Goddard's first novel is the very best I've read of him so far. An out of work historian is given an assignment to look into the life of a 1910 british politician turned governor of Madeira. The employer is a south African who bought the governors mansion and stumbled upon his diary. A seemingly past-time interest soon proves to be of close personal interest to everybody involved and the tale that unravels are one of deceit and even murder, echoing into present time. "
The first three hundred pages of this book were absolutely riveting -- I could not put it down, this story of a out-of-work historian in the 1970s who stumbles upon an old, turn-of-the-century mystery involving a British cabinet member and his mysterious fall from grace. I suspect this first half was so riveting because it was the memoir of the cabinet member in question and his circumstances were fascinating. Alas, the second part of the book involves the contemporary historian solving the myst...more
Aug 15, 2011 LG rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: summer readers
This turned out to be a great beach read! I mean, it’s a story about a British Member of Parliament, and one from the early 1900s at that – not something I’d ordinarily care about. And yet I was rapt. Whether it was narrator Martin Radford’s, or that of his disgraced subject Edwin Strafford, every part of the story kept me turning the pages. Goddard is the kind of veteran storyteller who makes compelling characterization and well-paced plot twisting look effortless. I’d raise an eyebrow at the b...more
Robert Goddard is one of my favourite authors and I loved this book. It's beautifully written and a delight that you can escape the real world by throwing yourself into the plot, characters and locations. A truly satisfying read and one that pulls on the heart strings for Edwin Strafford.
Top marks!
Margaret Wichorek
This is another good, tho overlong novel by Robert Goddard He is a favorite of mine and a master of the tricky plot. The novel is set both in England and on the island of Madeira, and takes place back in the 1900's and in the 80's. The plot is quite complicated and all I will say about it is that it's about love, revenge and retribution.
This was my first Robert Goddard book on recommendation from my Father and I have to say I was not disappointed. Straffords struggle with the cruel way in which he had been cheated out of a life of happiness was utterly compelling and I felt I wanted to read so much more of the memoir. Radfords love interest with Eve was somewhat drawn out and lacked a little belief but on the whole the book was well worth the rating of 4.

Am I also the only one to notice the minor technical glitch in the text. O...more
Pat Romain
If you love English mysteries, try Robert Goddard's books. He is a great story teller and has a way of twisting and turning throughout the story. Just when you think you have the plot figured out, things change. Hard to put his books down!
I had never read anything by Robert Goddard before, but I certainly will try more of his books. In the blurb on the cover, it was compared to The Magus and The French Lieutenant's Woman (I didn't see the blurb until I had finished the book) and I have to agree, in that it has that same mysterious, convoluted plotting of Fowles's works. The protagonist is an admittedly weak, easily-led man, down on his luck, who is offered an assignment he simply can't refuse, to look up the "real" history of a l...more
Sharon Spiteri
This was recommended by a friend and I got the audiobook and plunged in without even reading a blurb or a short review so I wasn't sure what to expect. About 100 pages in, I was a bit fed up, it was clearly of the 'historical crime' genre with emphasis on the historical and I knew so little about the politics of the early 20th century that I was losing interest. The book also felt densely written, with little dialogue, and the pace was lethargic. I'm glad to say I was wrong. I think it does need...more
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“But perhaps revelation often comes when you’re not looking for it, resolution when you don’t realize you need it.” 9 likes
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