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Play to the End Play to the End Play to the End

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  759 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Intricate, fascinating and deeply satisfying to the last page -- another classic Robert Goddard mystery.
Actor Toby Flood, formerly of big and small screen but now seldom seen on either, arrivesin Brighton with the other cast members of the Joe Orton play Lodger in the Throat. They have been on tour since September, but hopes of a West End transfer have been abandoned and
ebook, 369 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by Delta (first published 1988)
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Sep 14, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, fiction
Much of the plot was frustrating and tedious. I understand there wouldn't be much of a book if the characters called the police instead of doing their own investigation but I really wished they'd had better reasons for not doing so. Near the end, I got so angry with the stupid stuff the main character did I could barely stand it but hung in hoping it would somehow be explained so it all made sense. It was not. Quite a bummer, this one.
Dec 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If this book were a matinee performance at the local theater, I’d probably pay the ticket price for it to while away an agreeable couple of hours, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t get to the West End of whatever I meant by “local.” Our hero Toby Flood is affable enough, but I just couldn’t buy his protestations that he still loved Jenny, his leading lady. More likely, he was willing to give up his own onstage engagements and play detective because he had got bored of the production he wa ...more
Jun 30, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A typical Goddard novel, with the past influencing the present. Set in Brighton which I know, so that was a bonus. Written in the form of a transcription of an audio diary. The main character, Toby Flood comes across as likeable, but not much of a 'luvvie'. The best character is Sydney Porteous, a 'hail fellow, well met' kind of guy. I could imagine him so clearly. However, I am not happy (as a retired solicitor) with the author's take on the laws of intestacy. I do not think a child would inher ...more
Bryan Higgs
Dec 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, mystery
Number 16 in my anal, Robert Goddard novel reading quest.

This one's a good one. Unlike the previous two, it doesn't go far-afield at the end, to explain what has been happening -- either geographically, or plot-wise.

A common characteristic of a Robert Goddard novel is that you don't know what's happening, but the layers of the plot onion are slowly peeled away, and then you think that you know what happened (or a little of it), but then -- sudden clever twist (for which Goddard is famous) -- and
Oct 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think someone else has said that he/she was wondering why the main characters don't just call the police instead of trying to play Miss Marples. Valid question - the idea that Toby wants to win back his wife so much that he wants to "do what a man's gotta do" is a bit thin. He's a fading actor not an action hero.

Anyway the plot is clever (relying a little too much on Flood reacting predictably to follow clues set by someone who has never met him before though) and there's little chance you'll
Robert Goddard certainly knows how to get a tiger by the tail! In typical Goddard style "play to the end " starts innocuously enough with a story that seems likely to be exceedingly boring and a lead character who is far from attractive. Yet we are slowly but surely drawn into the web of confusion and deceit. Why is Derek Oswin making a minor nuisance of himself around Toby Flood's ex wife's business? What is so important about his oh so boring history of a Brighton plastic firm that has been cl ...more
This is my first Robert Goddard novel, but it certainly will not be my last. This story is wonderfully plotted, fluid and intelligent. Duplicity and intrigue are the order of the day and will keep you reading. Unlike most mystery/suspense novels, Mr. Goddard's manipulations and story telling expertise do not "telegraph" the ending when your half way through the book. Others have described the plotline, I will not do so. Just know that if your in the mood for some engrossing storytelling, this is ...more
Erich Sysak
Aug 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very simple plot, but well-written. Moves fast. Lively first person voice and an enjoyable main character. Silly ending, but OK. Many of these thrillers don't end well."
Another story where the plot is completely driven by brain-dead decisions by the protagonist.
Aug 18, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
And I thought Steven Moffat was the king of convoluted and unnecessary plot twists.
Amanda Wells
I have mixed feelings about this book - because in truth I did enjoy it.
I found it easy to read, and I did want to know how it would resolve.

But there was just enough farce there, just enough requirement to suspend disbelief that it felt a bit like an episode of a British murder serial.

I think that's why my first impressions were that this was a black comedy that forgot to be darkly humorous. The characters had it in them - but it just never took that turn, and in the end it felt disappointing
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Het eerste boek wat ik van Goddard lees. Viel heel erg tegen. Misschien was de vertaling slecht. Het zou een thriller moeten zijn maar ik vond het allemaal nog al knullig. Je wilt het toch uitlezen maar eigenlijk was het zonde van mijn tijd.
Michael Ward
Solid Mystery novel. A bit Enid Blyton for adults.
Julie Round
Not the most interesting Robert Goddard book I have read. Perfect for fans of Peter James.
Barry Bridges
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Goddard on top form. Characters, plot and execution all first class. Didn't put it down!
Jayne Charles
There are certain books that have to devote page after page to the bad guy explaining his actions in forensic detail, often in some kind of bizarre suspension of hostilities before the police roll up, so the protagonist gets to ask all kinds of "but why didn't you....." and "how did you...." questions to tie up all the plot holes the reader thinks he's spotted. This is one of them. That kind of thing always convinces me there's a gaping logic loop somewhere in the plot if only you take the time ...more
Iowa City Public Library
Middle-aged actor Tobe Flood is stuck in a theatrical tour that’s sputtering to an end. The last week of it’s lackluster run is in Brighton, where his soon to be ex-wife is living with her new fiancé. Tobe’s hoping to somehow convince her to come to her senses and take him back. By the end of the week, though, he finds himself in the middle of a decades-old mystery that threatens to end his career, if not his life.

This is the third Robert Goddard novel I’ve read, and the one I liked the best. Wh
May 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent Goddard tale. I liked the way he made a parallel tale between our hero Toby Flood and the life of Joe Orton and, being set in Brighton offered some lovely scene decriptions.... I am getting the feeling that a standard element of a Goddard novel is the break down of a couples relationship - divorce features a lot and in this novel we have "estrangement". its often the lingering feelings the male has for the wife that gets him in trouble. I can't believe that a mildly intelligent ...more
Maryann MJS1228
All the elements of the classic Goddard formula are on display here: the downcast hero who's managed to screw up his own life, the links to a past wrong, a touch of history that's just enough to thrill those who know the references without being too precious to alienate those who don't. Play to the End tells the story of an actor who is trying to salvage his career and the opportunity presented by a lead role in a lost (and imaginary) Joe Orton play when he's drawn into a mystery involving the e ...more
This is a British thriller of sorts. Our hero is an actor who stars in a weak play touring England. He lands in Brighton, where is (separated) wife has taken up with a local industrialist with a secret past. THe characters are witty and the plot is complicated, but frankly, it is hard to buy into this story. Like many English novels of this genre it is all about a complicated plot put toghether like a Swiss watch. I doubt many crimes are really like this; live is too full of chaos to allow such ...more
Mitch McCrimmon
Mar 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A typical Goddard novel and I have read over a dozen of them now, enjoying them all. It is typical in that an ordinary guy gets caught up on a complex web of deceit and crime just by offering to help his ex wife out of a fix. Everything starts innocently enough, as they usually do in Goddard's novels. A fading, small time actor is on his way to Brighton to perform in a play at a local theatre. His ex wife lives there and she asks him to find out why a man is seemingly stalking her. Everything ta ...more
Rob Innis
This one is a bit of a slow burner, you have to trust Goddard and he sometimes delivers. The action takes place in Brighton (seem to be stuck there just finished Brighton Rock)where thespian Toby tries to help his estranged wife and win her back. But as the action warms up he becomes embroiled in a much bigger and more dangerous situation - as he crosses paths with a variety of characters, some of whom are not going to make it to the end of the book.
It becomes gripping but without being overly c
Jan 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Readable, but below his best work. As always with Robert Goddard this is a page turner, and a fast read. But the plot development sags a little in the middle, and I'm not convinced that the underlying storyline is inherently as interesting as his best work.

I'd say read this if you like Robert Goddard and are willing to forgive him the odd sub-par work. New readers would be better to start elsewhere.
Ian Rodwell
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Could not leave the book alone, I just wanted to know what would happen to Toby next! A real page turner for me.

As ever with Robert Goddard's novels someone puts a spark to some explosive material from the past and it all explodes in the present, changing lives or ending lives forever.

Set in Brighton so I was able to draw on my memories of the town too.

A much recommended novel.
Overall, a very entertaining page-turner. Goddard is a very talented writer. The book fulfills its purpose, but it lacks real depth. It has no real meaning beyond its surface value. That is why I give it only 3 stars.
Joe Stamber
Not Robert Goddard's best, but still an enjoyable read. Has all the usual hallmarks of a Goddard novel and written with his customary eloquence, but I found it a bit barmy in places and wasn't as rivetted as I normally would be. An enjoyable read, but not quite up to Goddard's high standards.
A Goddard is always a great way to start a vacation ...he makes sure you don't spend that first day of the break napping. As always, plot-twists, revelations and impeccable pacing. Still not quite up to his early 5-star novels though.
Michael Carter
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. It seemed a bit different to some other Goddard books I have read (which is most of them). I really liked the main character and the setting in Brighton. I think there may be more books with this character I will seek out. Highly recommended
Feb 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: f-mystery
Actor in England is playing in a "dying" play in Brighton. Is visited by his ex-wife who's about to remarry. Something is amiss and character, Tony Flood, track down the facts about her finacee. As usual, a good read.
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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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