'A cracker, twisting, turning and exploding with real skill.' - Daily Mirror
Harry Barnett is a middle-aged failure. Leading a shabby existence in the shadow of a past disgrace, he is reduced to caretaking a friend's villa on the island of Rhodes and working in a bar to earn his keep. Then a guest at the villa - a young woman he had instantly and innocently warmed to - disappears on a mountain peak.
Under suspicion of her murder, Harry stumbles on a set of photographs taken in the weeks before her disappearance. Obsessed by the mystery that has changed his life and determined to clear his name, he begins to trace back the movements and encounters that led to the moment when she vanished into the blue. The trail leads him back to England, to a world he thought he had left for ever - and a past he has tried desperately to forget.
In a suspenseful, classy narrative that affords first-rate entertainment, a young English schoolteacher, Heather Mallender, vanishes on the Greek island of Rhodes. With her at the time was Harry Barnett, who at age 53 feels his life to have been a succession of small failures. To clear his name, Harry must locate her. But was she kidnapped or murdered, or did she disappear of her own volition? Heather had been seeing a psychiatrist, disconsolate over the death of her sister, the victim of an IRA bomb. As Harry shuttles between England and Rhodes, teasing out the tangled strands of Heather's fate, he stumbles into a web of betrayal, treachery, love, blackmail and murder. The solution is tied to his close friend and to a pivotal incident in his own childhood. Despite a plot of almost too labyrinthine complexity, this civilized romantic thriller delivers. Goddard ( Painting the Darkness ) has a great literary gift, and his middle-aged hero, who battles hypocrisy, corruption and time's unstoppable flow, is engaged in an identity quest graced with moments of poignancy and power.