Robert Goddard is the British author of two mystery series and several standalone novels, ranging from crime, mystery, thriller, to historical romances. The Harry Barnett series, which includes three books, is set in Greece where the main character is a villa caretaker in the present times, while the James Maxted series (also titled the Wide World Trilogy) is a historical thriller focusing on the post-WWI time period, where James ‘Max’ Maxted has several adventures.
Here are the Robert Goddard books in order for his series and numerous standalones.
New Robert Goddard Book
Harry Barnett Series
- Into the Blue (Harry Barnett #1), 1990
- Out of the Sun (Harry Barnett #2), 1996
- Never Go Back (Harry Barnett #3), 2006
James Maxted Series
- Intersection: Paris, 1919 (James Maxted #0.5), 2013
- The Ways of the World (James Maxted #1), 2013
- The Corners of the Globe (James Maxted #2), 2014
- The Ends of the Earth (James Maxted #3), 2016
Standalone Robert Goddard Books
- Past Caring, 1986
- In Pale Battalions, 1988
- Painting the Darkness, 1989
- Take No Farewell, 1991
- Hand in Glove, 1992
- Closed Circle, 1993
- Borrowed Time, 1995
- Beyond Recall, 1997
- Caught in the Light, 1998
- Set in Stone, 1999
- Sea Change, 2000
- Dying to Tell, 2001
- Days Without Number, 2003
- Play to the End, 2004
- Sight Unseen, 2005
- Name To A Face, 2007
- Found Wanting, 2008
- Long Time Coming, 2010
- Blood Count, 2011
- Fault Line, 2012
- Panic Room, 2018
- One False Move, 2019
Robert Goddard Biography
The author Robert William Goddard (not to be confused with the early rocket designer Robert Goddard) was born 13 November 1954 in Fareham, Hampshire, England. He went to Bathampton County Primary School, then moved on to Wallisdean County Junior School and Price’s Grammar School in Fareham, following which he enrolled at the University of Cambridge to study history. After graduation, he tried to get jobs both as a journalist and as a teacher, however, they were not successful.
Thus, he started working as an educational administrator in Devon right until he started writing books for a living. He always loved reading suspense and mystery novels, and not having found many books to his liking, he decided to write his own stories in the genre. Many of the Robert Goddard books are historical fiction in nature, and this is no surprise considering the author’s history major in college.
The first Robert Goddard book was published in 1986 with the title Past Caring. Following that, the author wrote a book every year, or at least every two years. His two series have 3 books each, and they form only the minority of his books. Robert Goddard is mostly known for his numerous standalone novels above all, and he prefers it that way, as he has the freedom of setting his novels both geographically and historically in any place and time he wanted without being constrained by a previous book in a series.
Into the Blue, the first Harry Barnett book, was adapted for TV starring John Thaw as Harry. It was a pretty major departure from the book plot, and the author himself was not overly thrilled with the adaptation.
In the book, Harry Barnett is living in Greece, working as a caretaker for a friend’s villa. He is running from his past, but it seems trouble comes to find him no matter where he is. When a guest at the villa, Heather Mallender, disappears during a walking tour, Harry is the main suspect in the disappearance. Now he realizes that his current main purpose in life is figuring out what happened with Heather. Thus, he ends up in the middle of scheming, conspiracies, British politics and bedrooms, and, of course, in the crosshairs of a ruthless killer.
Throughout his stories, the author sets the locations for his characters all over the UK, and to various far-away places like Japan, France, Belgium, Greece, and the Balkans. Some of the novels, such as Name to a Face, Days without Number, Beyond Recall, are set closer to home, namely in Cornwall, which is where the author is also living.
Before writing his novels, he first creates the outline and maps out all details. However, as he mentioned in an interview, often his characters take on a life of their own, and the stories diverse vastly from what was originally intended. Robert also does a lot of research for each of his books, and he once mentioned that research is something he enjoys doing. As a historian, I imagine he does. Also, Robert Goddard is a master of plot twists, which he employs in all of his books. Often, readers have troubles predicting the book ending.
The author received several awards for his work, including the W H Smith Thumping Good Read Award for his book Into the Blue, the 2011 Edgar Award for Best Original Paperback for Long Time Coming, and the CWA Diamond Dagger Award in 2019, which is an award that “recognises authors whose crime writing careers have been marked by sustained excellence, and who have made a significant contribution to the genre.” Previous CWA Diamond Dagger award winners include Ann Cleeves, Dick Francis, John Le Carre, Lee Child, P.D. James, and Ruth Rendell. As an interesting trivia, Robert Goddard’s award announcement came at the same time with the author’s 28th book, One False Move, in 2019.
In One False Move, another standalone Robert Goddard book, we meet Joe Roberts who is targeted by several gaming companies who want to exploit his genius. Among them is Nicole Nevinson, sent by her company Venstrom, to hire the very talented player. Unfortunately, Joe is working for a guy who doesn’t let him go as he is very lucrative for his pockets, giving him tips on stocks, bonds, and shares. Soon, Nicole finds herself on the run, with her life threatened, and she finds out that she is nothing but a pawn on the chessboard of some very important people, in a conspiracy that goes back decades.
Currently, Robert Goddard lives with his wife Vaunda in Truro, Cornwall, where he is working on his next book.
Praise for Robert Goddard
Is this his best yet?…Full of sinister menace and propulsive pace with twisty plotting (Lee Child on Panic Room)
The classic Goddard epic of romance, double dealing and tragedy wrapped up in an old family quilt stained with blood and hidden under the stairs…Irresistible. (The Times on Fault Lines)
Get your hands on this gripping thriller set in stunning Cornwall. If you like plenty of twists in the tale and sensational plot lines, then you’re probably already a fan of Robert Goddard. Fault Line doesn’t disappoint. Settings and characters are a joy. (Daily Express on Fault Lines)
[Robert Goddard’s novels are] too good to gulp (Stephen King)
Robert Goddard is the master of mystery, and in his latest novel he proves just how good he is at getting a reader hooked… This is Goddard at his best and will keep his legions of fans happy and eager for more (Peterborough Evening Telegraph)
An absorbing read from a truly creative storyteller… A dizzying sequence of twists, handled with Goddard’s customary aplomb, make Name to a Face both an excellent introduction to his work and a treat for diehard fan (Guardian on Name to a Face)
Engrossing storytelling of a very high order. (Observer on Sea Change)
A spellbinding storyteller (Sunday Independent)