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Past Caring

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  1,656 Ratings  ·  160 Reviews
At a lush villa on the sun-soaked island of Madeira, Martin Radford is given a second chance. His life ruined by scandal, Martin holds in his hands the leather-bound journal of another ruined man, former British cabinet minister Edwin Strafford. What's more, Martin is being offered a job--to return to England and investigate the rise and fall of Strafford, an ambitious you ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published May 20th 2008 by Delta (first published 1986)
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(showing 1-30)
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This was my first Robert Goddard novel but it won't be my last.

This book tells two stories; one set in the present day and another set about seventy five years earlier. The book is structured so that the present-day protagonist, a historian, is researching the story of the 'way back when' protagonist. I've come across this kind of structure before and, when it's done well, it's a really entertaining way of unfolding and interweaving two related tales. Goddard does it well.

The thing I loved the m
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star-books
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
Nov 28, 2011 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.
Mar 19, 2011 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
Joe Stamber
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.:)
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I enjoyed this book immensely, it was let down by the absurdity of it's main premise: That two people who were very much in love could be broken up by a lie, in the way it was presented here.

(view spoiler)
I've been cleaning out my library and found a slew of books by Robert Goddard purchased second hand in the UK by my husband. This one was marked 1£25. Rather than move them on to a donation table, I decided to read the earliest published one of the bunch. I liked this book and plan to read more of Robert Goddard.

I do think that the pacing was off in places and that it was far wordier than needed, but I did want to know how things turned out .... and there were plenty of surprises. The history a
Robert Goddard is a true master storyteller. His normal format is to alternate between present day and past events which are interminably linked in some dark and mysterious way. This time he chose early 20th Century to set the scene. Famous politicians such as Lloyd George, Asquith, Churchill are in the story, brought to life by Goddard.

The plot is beautifully weaved and involves deceit, romance and some nasty characters. I really didn't want the book to end but sadly it did and for me, this is
Iryna Pavlyk
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a real pleasure to find an interesting book which you are ready to read days and nights to find the answers. Great story and great language. Mystery and a family secret against a background of political life in the UK in the beginning of 20 century. Definitely i am going to read other books of the author.
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
good historical thriller.
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
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
Dirk Lapere
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unusual combination of "very sad love story"& mystery makes this an interesting read which ultimately did not convince me.

The love story behind the mystery is sad, moving and very credible. It really draws you into the book as well as the mystery.

However, the mystery itself is weak, quite predictable and - as I observed in the previous Goddard book I just read - very dependent on a lot of "coincidences". Things that just happen at the "right time/place" to move the story along. If it were
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
Susan Leona Fisher
Gripping read, couldn't put it down
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
May 23, 2011 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
Bryan Higgs
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 03, 2011 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
Elizabeth Elwood
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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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