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In "Days Without Number," the Paleologus children gather for a birthday celebration for the eldest at the Cornish home of their rather beastly father. They have received a generous offer from a wealthy man who is ostensibly interested in the father's house for archaeological and historical reasons. The gathering ends badly, with the father's refusal of the offer, as well as his usual voicing of complaints about how each of his children has disappointed him. The next day, he is found dead, apparently of an accident. But was it an accident? That, and many more mysteries, are at the heart of this compelling story.
Gordon Griffin is a new narrator for me, but an intriguing one. He really brought this story to life and gave distinct voices to each character. I'd love to listen to something else from him.
Having just finished Goddard's "Painting the Darkness," performed by the incomparable Michael Kitchen, I wanted to leave a review but found that the title is "unavailable." I highly recommend it also. In it Goddard shows himself to be a brilliant master in complete control of his medium. It has been interesting to see how his already excellent writing has been refined and perfected. He just gets better and better. Long may he write.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
I love Robert Goddard’s writing. In my three previous outings with him I have been impressed with his ability to weave complex suspense stories around characters that had depth and believability. His plot twists were always delightfully surprising, yet remained within context, avoiding the “give me a break” groan.
Sadly “Days Without Number” failed on almost every level of his usual excellence. For me the fatal flaw was Goddard’s failure to define just what the mystery was. Over and over we hear the phrase “the secret is, that there is no secret”. The result is a whole lot of running around, a growing body count, and still no defined reason for any of this to be happening. As with other Goddard books, events that occurred in the past rear up in the present presenting unforeseen consequences for our current characters. Usually Goddard takes us via flashbacks to the relevant past where we experience the events that have set the current chaos in motion. This time however we are merely fed history lessons on the Templars and on the destruction of churches during Cromwell’s Civil War, and given tidbits on archaeological investigations in the area. There is a huge cast of secondary characters, many of whom we never meet because they are names from the father’s past, who are given mighty importance but feel more like red herrings because their relevance is just not made clear. I’m not usually confused by multiple character plots, but for this one I really did feel the need for a scorecard. By the time the whole affair was wrapped up, I was hopelessly lost as to what was going on and the solution still left me scratching my head. All of the Goddard elements were there, but just not smoothly knitted together.
A final note of disappointment, not the fault of the author – I REALLY missed the elegant narration of Michael Kitchen. Griffin was ok, except that he made the fortyish aged characters sound so old - especially Basil, who came off as in his seventies. Made it impossible to get a mind’s eye picture of them. For those new to Goddard, don’t start here – try “Painting the Darkness” or “Caught in the Light” first.
4 of 5 people found this review helpful
Robert Goddard is one of my favourite authors and I greatly enjoyed this book. He is a master of combining interesting factual information with imaginative fiction. He creates three dimensional characters whose fate one follows with bated breath as twists and turns in the plot spring surprises on them and us. The story is based in Cornwall but diverts to Edinburgh and the nearby Rosslyn Chapel (which coincidentally I was walking past at the time!) and moves to Venice and Paris as the plot thickens. The book has a touch of the themes in Dan Brown's the Da VInci Code, but the writing is much better.
The narrator is excellent.
18 of 20 people found this review helpful
I loved the story, the narrator was excellent and the story gripping. Robert Goddard never fails to enthral
2 of 2 people found this review helpful