I always look forward to a new Robert Goddard book but wasn’t sure what to expect from his latest, The Fine Art of Invisible Detection. Partly, I think, because the blurb seemed more a detective novel than a thriller. Actually, this is both. Goddard has creative a heart-warming, realistic new hero, Umiko Wada, known simply as Wada. I raced through this book, full of Goddard’s clever twisty plotting, emotional dilemmas, should-I-shouldn’t-I moments.
Wada is a 47-year-old secretary at a detective agency in Tokyo, making tea, writing reports for her technology-incompetent boss Kodaka. Widowed after her husband was killed in the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, Wada is quiet, efficient and invisible. But burning deep is a sense of righteousness. So when her boss asks for her help with a new case, she agrees to go to London to pose as the client who wants to find out if her father really committed suicide almost three decades earlier, or if he was murdered. From this point on, Wada’s life becomes unpredictable and her talent for being invisible becomes a lifesaver. Her boss dies in a car accident. The man she is due to meet in London has gone missing. Always logical, she follows the one clue she has.
Nick Miller is also due to meet the same man in London. Nick, a 41-year-old Londoner, is hoping to learn more about the father he has never met. Nick and Wada’s paths keep missing each other as they separately follow the trail of mystifying clues about the past. The action moves from Tokyo to London, Rekyjavik and the wilds of Iceland to Cornwall. There is a high-technology fraud, plus hints of terrorism and Japanese gang warfare, but this is not a violent read.
Wada is at the heart of this novel. Her logic and calm reasoning drive the narrative forward in that just-one-more-chapter way that makes this book a quick and fulfilling read. She is ordinary but extraordinary. I hope she returns in another novel.
BUY THE BOOK
Read my reviews of Goddard’s other books:-
The Ways of the World #1 The Wide World Trilogy
The Corners of the Globe #2 The Wide World Trilogy
The Ends of the Earth #3 The Wide World Trilogy
If you like this, try:-
‘Exposure’ by Helen Dunmore
‘The Accident’ by Chris Pavone
‘The Second Midnight’ by Andrew Taylor
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:-
THE FINE ART OF INVISIBLE DETECTION by Robert Goddard #books https://wp.me/p5gEM4-5as via @SandraDanby
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