Caught In The Light

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9780552145978: Caught In The Light

On assignment in Vienna, photographer Ian Jarrett falls desperately in love with a woman he meets by chance, Marian Esguard. Back in England, he breaks up with his wife and goes to meet Marian at an agreed rendezvous. Marian fails to show.

Searching desperately for her, he stumbles on a Dorset churchyard full of the gravestones of dead Esguards. He also meets a psychotherapist, Daphne Sanger. She too is looking for someone: a former patient who has come to believe she is the reincarnation of Marion Esguard, who lived in Regency times and, it emerges, may have invented photography ten years before Fox Talbot. But if so, why is she unknown to history? And where is the woman he met in Vienna?

Ian sets out to solve a mystery that may be 170 years old. At the end of his search a trap awaits him. There is a twist at the end of Caught in the Light that is Robert Goddard's most cunning to date.

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Review:

If you've read any of Robert Goddard's topnotch psychological thrillers (including Beyond Recall, Out of the Sun, and Hand in Glove), you know that he specializes in setting up an impossible situation and then showing how it is in fact diabolically possible. Caught in the Light is no exception.

When photographer Ian Jarrett, on assignment in snowy Vienna, meets and falls in love with a mysterious woman named Marian Esguard, the sex is terrific and their future back in England looks happy. Jarrett walks out on his wife and 15-year-old daughter and goes off to await his new lover. But she doesn't show up, and Jarrett decides to track her down. In the process he unearths an out-of-this-world mystery: Marian may well be a ghost from the past (and a ghost with a grudge). That would certainly explain why none of the pictures of Marian come out. During the 19th century, a woman of the same name claimed to have discovered the techniques of modern photography, but she never received the credit for it.

Quickly--perhaps a little too quickly--other people appear on the scene to explain the unexplainable. There's the London psychotherapist who has been treating Eris Moberly (the woman who calls herself Marian Esguard); there's a slick financier with a shadowy background and unknown motives. But despite these secondary characters popping out of the woodwork, Goddard is a master craftsman: he lures us into his fun house expertly, then guides us through the dark tunnels, cackling madly. An added bonus is a reverence for the history of photography, which lights up the story. --Dick Adler

About the Author:

ROBERT GODDARD was born in Hampshire and read History at Cambridge. His first novel, Past Caring, was an instant bestseller. Since then his books have captivated readers worldwide with their edge-of-the-seat pace and their labyrinthine plotting. His first Harry Barnett novel, Into the Blue, was winner of the first WHSmith Thumping Good Read Award and was dramatized for TV, starring John Thaw.

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