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Past Caring

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,502 Ratings  ·  149 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, sixty-seven 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, l
Paperback, 528 pages
Published July 17th 1987 by Corgi (first published 1986)
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Aug 19, 2013 Penny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Dec 11, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
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!!!!
Hazel McHaffie
Feb 05, 2009 Hazel McHaffie rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 19, 2009 Tripp rated it really liked it
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
Oct 12, 2012 Jane rated it it was ok
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
Jul 23, 2011 Biogeek rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
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 really liked it  ·  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
Sep 14, 2011 Joe Stamber rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper, read-2011, audio
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 i ...more
Mar 26, 2011 Mieneke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2011
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
Jan 28, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it
This novel tells two stories, firstly that of an early 20th century British cabinet minister, Edwin Strafford, who suddenly and mysteriously loses his job and his fiance without a clue as to why this is happening to him. His career is ruined and he ends up a minor consular official in Madeira. It is also about a young historian Martin Radford, divorced and unemployed and visiting a friend in Madeira in the 1970s. He is hired to investigate the story of Edwin Strafford, starting with a recenty di ...more
Oct 08, 2010 Josh rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 09, 2011 FittenTrim rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 27, 2015 Susan rated it liked it
Edwin Strafford was an up and coming contemporary of Winston Churchill and Lloyd George. Although his bright prospects seem to be at risk because of his secret engagement to suffragette Elizabeth Latimer, he is sure that he can manage the conflict. Then suddenly everything falls apart. Elizabeth rejects him and the party relegates him to the insignificant post of British Consul in Madeira. Twenty-six years after his death, historian Martin Radford is hired by a wealthy South African who has foun ...more
Jun 01, 2014 Stan rated it it was ok
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
Elizabeth Elwood
May 11, 2015 Elizabeth Elwood rated it really liked it
Robert Goddard is a master at turning out gripping narratives loaded with unexpected twists and turns. His mysteries never pall in the middle or make the reader start to skim the pages to get to the conclusion; the incidents are all important links in the chain and each one is sufficiently compelling to keep the reader glued to the page.

Past Caring is another highly absorbing read. It tells the story of a historian who is offered the opportunity to uncover the still unsolved mystery of why a di
Jul 28, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
This is a pretty interesting read, though a bit of an uphill trudge in places. Nevertheless I had no trouble getting though its 623 pages, so the author is doing something right.

The novel is set in late 1970s and early 80s, but involves the investigation of a mystery dating back to Edwardian times. A great deal of the story of that era is told through the device of a journal, and while the information in the journal is very pertinent to the story, I did find that the hardest part of the book to
Mar 16, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked 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.:)
Jun 03, 2015 Bev rated it really liked it
Two stories – one of a British cabinet minister, Edwin Strafford, and the second of a historian, Martin Radford, divorced and unemployed and visiting a friend in Madeira.

There are easily drawn parallels of Radford with Strafford, who suddenly and mysteriously loses his job and his fiance without a clue as to why this is happening to him. Strafford’s career is ruined and he ends up a minor consular official in Madeira. England’s political situation in the early 1900s is examined, as is the suffra
Bryan Higgs
Mar 11, 2012 Bryan Higgs rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, favorites
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
May 20, 2011 Melaszka rated it liked it
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
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
Nov 16, 2011 Jeremy rated it really liked it
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
Jun 27, 2013 Cateline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 11, 2011 Jenni rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-author
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
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
Jun 25, 2012 Michele rated it liked it
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
Dave Fellows
Mar 09, 2016 Dave Fellows rated it it was amazing
5/5 stars. The first, and probably still the best, Goddard book I ever read. His debut too. I will always remember the simple yet compelling driving force behind Edwin's quest, to find out why the love of his life suddenly cut him out and never spoke to him again. "Elizabeth. Wherein have I offended thee? Edwin." One of the more powerful motives for the protagonist in a story that I can remember.
Connie Regan
Jan 19, 2015 Connie Regan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, suspense
Be prepared when you pick up this book. Author Robert Goddard always delivers a complex and compelling story. I think this is his best,filled with mystery, political intrigue, betrayal,heartbreak and murder. An unemployed historian is offered the chance to research Edwin Strafford, an Edwardian British politician who left a memoir who was tormented by the sudden loss of his fiancé and his career. Filled with twists and turns.
Aug 15, 2011 LG rated it really liked it
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
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