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The Fine Art of Invisible Detection

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The no. 1 ebook from the Sunday Times bestseller 'He's the high priest of plot ... deftly woven, but also beautifully written ... I loved it.' Mel Giedroyc 'One of the finest crime writers of any generation' Daily Mail Umiko Wada has recently had quite enough excitement in her life. With her husband recently murdered and a mother who seems to want her married again before h The no. 1 ebook from the Sunday Times bestseller 'He's the high priest of plot ... deftly woven, but also beautifully written ... I loved it.' Mel Giedroyc 'One of the finest crime writers of any generation' Daily Mail Umiko Wada has recently had quite enough excitement in her life. With her husband recently murdered and a mother who seems to want her married again before his body is cold, she just wants to keep her head down. As a secretary to a private detective, her life is pleasingly uncomplicated, filled with coffee runs, diary management and paperwork. That is, until her boss takes on a new case. A case which turns out to be dangerous enough to get him killed. A case which means Wada will have to leave Japan for the first time and travel to London. Following the only lead she has, Wada quickly realises that being a detective isn't as easy as the television makes out. And that there's a reason why secrets stay buried for a long time. Because people want them to stay secret. And they're prepared to do very bad things to keep them that way... What readers are saying: ***** 'Guaranteed and satisfying escapism' ***** 'Edge-of-the-seat stuff' ***** 'The master of twists and suspense ... sublime'


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The no. 1 ebook from the Sunday Times bestseller 'He's the high priest of plot ... deftly woven, but also beautifully written ... I loved it.' Mel Giedroyc 'One of the finest crime writers of any generation' Daily Mail Umiko Wada has recently had quite enough excitement in her life. With her husband recently murdered and a mother who seems to want her married again before h The no. 1 ebook from the Sunday Times bestseller 'He's the high priest of plot ... deftly woven, but also beautifully written ... I loved it.' Mel Giedroyc 'One of the finest crime writers of any generation' Daily Mail Umiko Wada has recently had quite enough excitement in her life. With her husband recently murdered and a mother who seems to want her married again before his body is cold, she just wants to keep her head down. As a secretary to a private detective, her life is pleasingly uncomplicated, filled with coffee runs, diary management and paperwork. That is, until her boss takes on a new case. A case which turns out to be dangerous enough to get him killed. A case which means Wada will have to leave Japan for the first time and travel to London. Following the only lead she has, Wada quickly realises that being a detective isn't as easy as the television makes out. And that there's a reason why secrets stay buried for a long time. Because people want them to stay secret. And they're prepared to do very bad things to keep them that way... What readers are saying: ***** 'Guaranteed and satisfying escapism' ***** 'Edge-of-the-seat stuff' ***** 'The master of twists and suspense ... sublime'

30 review for The Fine Art of Invisible Detection

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Robert Goddard's latest thriller is an intricate and complicated piece of fiction, set primarily in Japan, London, Cornwall and Iceland. Middle aged widow Umika Wada is PA to PI Kazuro Kodaka at his one man detective agency in Tokyo, her husband a victim of the notorious sarin attack in 1995. Wada is an unflappable and stoic woman, a woman that barely makes an impression on others, rendering her well nigh invisible. It is these qualities that are to make her a rather good detective when she is u Robert Goddard's latest thriller is an intricate and complicated piece of fiction, set primarily in Japan, London, Cornwall and Iceland. Middle aged widow Umika Wada is PA to PI Kazuro Kodaka at his one man detective agency in Tokyo, her husband a victim of the notorious sarin attack in 1995. Wada is an unflappable and stoic woman, a woman that barely makes an impression on others, rendering her well nigh invisible. It is these qualities that are to make her a rather good detective when she is unexpectedly sent to London by her boss on a case that turns out to be so dangerous that he is murdered in a hit and run incident. The agency had been hired by Mimori Takenaga to find out what really happened to her father who apparently committed suicide in London 27 years ago, Wada is to meet Martin Caldwell who claims to have information on this case, posing as their client. 41 year old Londoner Nick Miller is married to Kate, a private school art teacher whose mother, Caro, has recently died. Caldwell gets in touch with him, saying he has information on his father, the dead Geoff Nolan. Nick knows little of Nolan, other than Geoff never wanted to know anything about him, so he tries to find out more from his mother's partner, April. Nick's world is shattered when he finds out both his mother and April have lied to him about his parentage. When Caldwell fails to turn up to meet either Wada and Nick as agreed, both find themselves propelled into pursuing their inquiries, albeit separately, into a terrifying world where there is a rising tide of murdered people and gangsters. They find themselves going to Iceland to find Caldwell and look into the sinister Quartizon Corporation, and a strange auction that is to take place there, but will they survive? Goddard excels in writing suspenseful thrillers, full of twists and turns, as is the case here, this is action packed and full of thrills that culminate in an exciting finale on a Cornish beach. Wada is an inspired creation, and developed so well, finding herself in an unfamiliar world of threats and constant danger, where the normal thing to do after her boss is murdered would have been to return to her life in Tokyo. However, she has a thread of steel and determination in her personality, plus she has a personal stake in the case with the sarin attacks, although not knowing what she is up against naturally means she make mistakes. What is clear is that she has what it takes to be a capable and competent detective, even if she doesn't recognise this in herself. This is a wonderfully complex and entertaining thriller that is likely to appeal to fans of Goddard and other crime and thriller readers. Many thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    Umiko Wada is employed at the Kodaka Detective Agency in Tokyo and is very adept at the ‘fine art of invisible detection ‘. The agency is hired by Mimori Takenaga to investigate her father’s apparent suicide in London twenty seven years ago. Her investigation leads Wada into personal danger as she tries to seek the truth. Meanwhile, in London Nick Miller is on a similar quest but for different reasons. This is a twisty, fast paced complex thriller and you really have to concentrate! However, it i Umiko Wada is employed at the Kodaka Detective Agency in Tokyo and is very adept at the ‘fine art of invisible detection ‘. The agency is hired by Mimori Takenaga to investigate her father’s apparent suicide in London twenty seven years ago. Her investigation leads Wada into personal danger as she tries to seek the truth. Meanwhile, in London Nick Miller is on a similar quest but for different reasons. This is a twisty, fast paced complex thriller and you really have to concentrate! However, it is extremely interesting and full of tension and suspense. It’s well written and takes the action to some good settings such as Tokyo, London, Devon and Cornwall, New York and Iceland. The storytelling is full of secrets and intrigue, deception, corruption, fraud and has menace and danger aplenty. Particularly intriguing is the connection between Tokyo and Cornwall with the link to Sarin which Wada has personal experience of as her husband died of the effects of sarin in the Tokyo attacks of 1995. There’s a high body count too as we progress through the past and events in the present day. Wada is a really good character. She can meld into the background, she has much inner strength and a sharp analytical mind which combined with the tenacity of a bloodhound makes her excellent at her job. The ending is very tense with all the plot elements falling into place. I like how it ultimately ends too - is there a follow up in the pipeline? I do hope so. My reservations of the book lie in the vast number of characters, Japanese names are tricky to get in your head and if you add Icelandic names into the mix, it makes your head spins at bit! There is some repetition too between Wada and Nick’s separate investigation. Overall though, it’s a good, intelligent thriller with plenty of meat on the bones of the plot. I’ve read a lot of books by Robert Goddard over the years and enjoyed them and this is no exception. With thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK Transworld:Bantam Press for the widget for an honest review

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Umiko Wada, a middle-aged assistant to a private Investigator ends up a long way from home in what will be her last case for him. Since her husband died after twelve years in a coma following the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway, Umiko has led a lonely life. By the time her husband died she was too old to have children so instead of looking to remarry she decided to dedicate her life to her career, assisting her boss Kazuto Kodaka. So, when he asks if she would travel to London to attend a Umiko Wada, a middle-aged assistant to a private Investigator ends up a long way from home in what will be her last case for him. Since her husband died after twelve years in a coma following the 1995 sarin attack on the Tokyo subway, Umiko has led a lonely life. By the time her husband died she was too old to have children so instead of looking to remarry she decided to dedicate her life to her career, assisting her boss Kazuto Kodaka. So, when he asks if she would travel to London to attend a meeting on behalf of a client, she packs her bag and gets on a plane. Once in London she is to meet with a man who has information regarding someone who worked as a translator for her client’s father before he was killed in 1977. However, when the man she is to meet doesn’t show up, instead of going back to Japan Wada (as she likes to be called) resolutely follows the case to wherever it takes her – Devon, New York, Iceland and finally to Cornwall. The case turns out to be more complex and much more dangerous than Wada and Kodaka could ever have imagined when they took it on. Unknown to her, someone else is on the same trail, Nick Miller, looking for information about the father he has never known. Missing since the 70s and presumed dead, the man Nick thinks might be his father was last seen on a beach in Cornwall, where one of his housemates was found drowned. Nick and Wada’s paths eventually collide in Iceland where the stakes will be raised for both of them as they uncover a plot of corruption, fraud and pure greed. This fast moving, smart and complex thriller is full of intrigue and suspense with twists at every turn. There are many pieces to keep track of, which eventually all slot together and culminate in a truly explosive ending. Wada is a delightful character. For someone used to an ordered and uneventful existence in Tokyo, she handles everything thrown her way with aplomb as she uses her clever brain and tenacity to evade danger. Quiet and resilient, Umiko Wada is the perfect invisible undercover detective who should never be underestimated. Robert Goddard has written another intelligent and stylish thriller with a smart and complex plot and a unique character you can’t fail to cheer for. With thanks to Random House UK and Netgalley for a copy to read. Expected publication 18th March. Review originally published in Mystery & Suspense Magazine.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Val

    Thank you very much to the publishers Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book for an honest opinion. I haven't read any other books by Robert Goddard but have seen the covers and The Fine Art of Invisible Detection looked a very different style to what I remember seeing in bookshops. I'll be honest I didn't know what to expect as didn't look it up prior to reading. My first impression was maybe it was a book for a younger audience Thank you very much to the publishers Random House UK, Transworld Publishers and to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book for an honest opinion. I haven't read any other books by Robert Goddard but have seen the covers and The Fine Art of Invisible Detection looked a very different style to what I remember seeing in bookshops. I'll be honest I didn't know what to expect as didn't look it up prior to reading. My first impression was maybe it was a book for a younger audience but that was based solely on the front cover. Now I've read the book I know its not and feel the cover design doesn't really match the book, so it was a bit misleading. It was however a really good page turner any very exciting. I loved the different locations the book took us to, from Tokyo to London, New York, Cornwall, Devon, Cornwall and Rekyjavik. It was very fast paced and had plot twists all over the place. Umiko Wada is a secretary to a private detective, based in Tokyo and has a fairly uninteresting life, that is, until her boss takes on a new case. A case which turns out to be dangerous enough to get him killed. A case which means Wada will have to leave Japan for and travel to London. Following the only lead she has, Wada quickly realises that being a detective isn't as easy as the television makes out. And that there's a reason why secrets stay buried for a long time. Because people want them to stay secret. And they're prepared to do very bad things to keep them that way... I loved the characters, Wada, was great. I was initially reminded of the Cormoran Strike books, for the first chapter or two, then it took on a life of its own. I enjoyed this a lot more due to the faster pace and the regular curveballs thrown in. I will definitely be looking to read other books by Robert Goddard in the future.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Paul Ataua

    Umiko Wada, whose husband was killed in a sarin gas subway attack, works as a secretary to Kazuto Kodaka, a private detective in Tokyo, and enjoys the uneventful routine life she leads. Suddenly, however, she is thrown into a dangerous adventure that takes her half way across the world to England and Iceland, an adventure that sees the bodies piling up. It’s a complicated yet entertaining thriller that does satisfy. If there is a negative side, it is that the writer fails to fully exploit the wo Umiko Wada, whose husband was killed in a sarin gas subway attack, works as a secretary to Kazuto Kodaka, a private detective in Tokyo, and enjoys the uneventful routine life she leads. Suddenly, however, she is thrown into a dangerous adventure that takes her half way across the world to England and Iceland, an adventure that sees the bodies piling up. It’s a complicated yet entertaining thriller that does satisfy. If there is a negative side, it is that the writer fails to fully exploit the wonderful potential of the Wada character, (something I am sure he will put right should there be a second novel in the series), and that he also creates a co-protagonist in Nick Millers that never manages to make it off the page. Good without being great!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    The Fine Art of Invisible Detection is the latest standalone thriller from the talented Robert Goddard, set between Japan, England and Iceland. Umiko Wada is a personal assistant and secretary to prominent and well-respected Private Investigator Kazuto Kodaka at his own agency in central Tokyo, specialising in commercial casework. Umiko is middle-aged with no children and was sadly left a widow when her husband was caught up in the deadly Aum Shinrikyo sarin attack on the Tokyo underground in 19 The Fine Art of Invisible Detection is the latest standalone thriller from the talented Robert Goddard, set between Japan, England and Iceland. Umiko Wada is a personal assistant and secretary to prominent and well-respected Private Investigator Kazuto Kodaka at his own agency in central Tokyo, specialising in commercial casework. Umiko is middle-aged with no children and was sadly left a widow when her husband was caught up in the deadly Aum Shinrikyo sarin attack on the Tokyo underground in 1995. She's resourceful, unperturbable, pragmatic and her stubbornness - which is fundamentally what drives her pursuit of the truth - very endearing. But she is also very forgettable which makes her the perfect person to trail or follow a mark or meet certain clientele should that be needed in a particular case and it contributes to making her a superb detective. However, when Kazuto takes on a new client - Mimori Takenaga - he sends Umiko to London to find out what really happened to Mimori’s father. The official line is that he committed suicide twenty-seven years ago while in London, but she has always believed he was murdered in cold blood. Mimori informs Kazuto and Umiko that out of desperation she had placed advertisements in several UK newspapers to try to glean information on Peter Evans, who had been her father’s translator forty years ago, and received a response from a British guy named Martin Caldwell, but she was unable to travel to meet him. He claims to have information that could crack the case wide open. However, everything suddenly gets a whole lot more dangerous when Kazuto is murdered in a hit and run. It's clearly a warning shot to leave the death well alone. And when Umiko turns up to the arranged meet with her contact he never shows up. One thing is for sure, unassuming Umiko was not expecting to be caught between a rock and a hard place quite like this. Meanwhile, we meet forty-one-year-old Nick Miller, husband to Kate, a resident of The Big Smoke and a private school art teacher who was brought up in shared student accommodation in Exeter by his mother, Cora, who recently passed away, and her partner, April. Caldwell contacts Nick telling him he has information on his deceased father, Geoff Nolan. It's hard to accept that both his mother and April had lied to him regarding his biological father all his life. He had never known anything about him, though that was something he desperately wanted to change. But again Caldwell fails to show. As the two cases converge, Umiko, a woman used to staying calm and keeping her head down, finds herself in the middle of shady criminal underworld dealings, ripe with gangsters and an ever-increasing pile of bodies. With a slew of harmful secrets just waiting to unravel and leak out will Umiko, Nick and Martin survive this unfamiliar, perilous world? This is a scintillating read with a wickedly twisty plot and enough suspense to give you heart palpitations. Goddard is one hell of a writer and a vastly underrated talent; here, he has woven an action-packed, high-stakes cat and mouse game with twists, turns and misdirection in abundance. I love that this is an international thriller spanning continents and our protagonist, Wado, is so beautifully crafted that as a multilayered, nuanced character she comes alive on the page and her courage and desire to carry on her search for truth despite the threats is admirable. Alternating between Wado and Nick’s perspectives, there is enough to sink your teeth into throughout with murder, abduction, yakuza involvement and betrayal bringing an explosive and exhilarating thriller and a complete breath of fresh air in the genre. Highly recommended.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    Umiko Wada has recently had enough excitment in her life. With her husband recently murdered and a mother who seems to want her married again before his body is cold, she just wants to keep her head down. As a secretary to a private detective, her life is pleasingly uncomplicated.That is , until her boss takes on a new case. A case which is dangerous enough to get him killed. Now Wada will have to leave Japan for the first time and travel to London. A series of events sees Nick Miller, a teacher Umiko Wada has recently had enough excitment in her life. With her husband recently murdered and a mother who seems to want her married again before his body is cold, she just wants to keep her head down. As a secretary to a private detective, her life is pleasingly uncomplicated.That is , until her boss takes on a new case. A case which is dangerous enough to get him killed. Now Wada will have to leave Japan for the first time and travel to London. A series of events sees Nick Miller, a teacher living in London and Umiko Wada's paths cross. The story takes us around the country and Iceland. The book pulls you in from the beginning. A story of dirty deeds and gangsters. It's so descriptively written that it makes you feel that you had been there. The pace was a bit on the slow side. The plotline had been cleverly crafted. I would like to thank #NetGalley, #RandomHouseUK #TransworldPublishers and the author #RobertGoddardfor my ARC #TheFineArtOfInvisibleDetection in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    3.5 stars; When Umiko Wada's private detective boss takes on a new case exploring the suspicious circumstances around someone's supposed suicide 40 years ago, Wada finds herself in England, catapulted into the middle of a mystery that is bigger than it first appeared. Overall, I did enjoy this book. The pacing was good (although it started to drag towards the end) and the characters were very lovable. I liked the mix of countries and culture that the story showed, including the little titbits of J 3.5 stars; When Umiko Wada's private detective boss takes on a new case exploring the suspicious circumstances around someone's supposed suicide 40 years ago, Wada finds herself in England, catapulted into the middle of a mystery that is bigger than it first appeared. Overall, I did enjoy this book. The pacing was good (although it started to drag towards the end) and the characters were very lovable. I liked the mix of countries and culture that the story showed, including the little titbits of Japanese culture that were sprinkled throughout the book. I adored Umika Wada - her tenacity and drive were thrilling in this, and really propelled the story along. I can't say the same for Nick Miller (the other protagonist), he seemed washed out when compared to Wada. However, the book is confusing. There are a LOT of side characters that are only mentioned by name, and it becomes hard to remember who they are when they come up again. I also felt the plot was dragged out for the sake of leading the reader around the houses - it's great to have some misleading red herrings in a crime fiction, but for me the book could have achieved the same result in fewer pages, and then it would've skipped the bit in the middle where it felt like nothing happened! Overall good, but not the best book I've ever read!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This book certainly sounded like something I would enjoy but I did not. The forced mysterious events, like following bread crumbs to discover what is behind old news articles, broken appointments, accidents, break-ins, deaths, missing files and computers...all with a little Japanese widow observing until the big whoosh explosive reveal whilst moving between Japan, London, Cornwall, Iceland? No thanks. Beginning to end, nothing believable for me. Thank goodness I had the French Open to watch.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Elvina Zafril

    I heard a lot of good things about Robert Goddard. This is my first book from him. In his latest book, The Fine Art of Invisible Detection tells a story of Umiko Wada who is a secretary to a private detective Kazuro Kodaka. She tries to find put the truth behind some tragic event happened in 1977. She was unexpectedly sent to London by her boss on a murder case. This book is totally a clever and kept me guessing from beginning to end. I needed to concentrate while reading this book because i didn I heard a lot of good things about Robert Goddard. This is my first book from him. In his latest book, The Fine Art of Invisible Detection tells a story of Umiko Wada who is a secretary to a private detective Kazuro Kodaka. She tries to find put the truth behind some tragic event happened in 1977. She was unexpectedly sent to London by her boss on a murder case. This book is totally a clever and kept me guessing from beginning to end. I needed to concentrate while reading this book because i didn't want to miss any important details. I must say that I rarely read a historical crime books, but this book is such a good one. The pace is quite fast. It is very exciting to travel to so many places. From Tokyo to London. From London to Iceland and lastly to Cornwall. I really love Umiko Wada. She has a strong personality. Umiko Wada is an incredible character. I felt more engaging with her. Chapter after chapter, her character developed became more interesting and resourceful. The ending is so good! All the questions have been answered with the final revelation. If you love reading about corruptions, fraud and secrets, this book is for you. Thank you Times Reads for sending me a copy of The Fine Art of Invisible Detection in return for an honest review. This book is available at all good bookstores.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ursula

    Got off to a slow start with this but once I got all the names sorted out, I really enjoyed it!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Kincaid

    Umiko Wada is a secretary to a private detective in Japan. She's happy in her life, not looking for any excitement or something truly out of the ordinary. But life has other plans. When her husband takes a new job, one he suspects might be too dangerous, he sends her to England to gather some information. But then he gets killed himself, presumably by a hit-and-run. In order to found out and why and in the process save her own life, she starts to investigate the case- the death of a man in 197o' Umiko Wada is a secretary to a private detective in Japan. She's happy in her life, not looking for any excitement or something truly out of the ordinary. But life has other plans. When her husband takes a new job, one he suspects might be too dangerous, he sends her to England to gather some information. But then he gets killed himself, presumably by a hit-and-run. In order to found out and why and in the process save her own life, she starts to investigate the case- the death of a man in 197o's that somehow connects to a the suspicious death of two students in England in the 70's as well, one of the only presumed dead as his body was never found. And how is all of this connected to a company that deals with selling land? And a deadly Japanese businessman, so ruthless, everyone that stand in his way disappears or dies? Wada discovers that being a private detective isn't easy, especially as the stakes rises and lives are at stake, and that there are good reasons why secrets are stayed buried, even for a long period of time. But in order to save lives and stop a deadly conspiracy she must unravel the past, no matter what the stakes are. An edge-of-your-seat thriller, a fun roller-coaster ride that never lets up for a second. Filled with twists and turns, break-neck pace, wonderful characters that are well fleshed out- flawed, human, and real, everyday people who are thrust into impossible situations- labyrinthine, complex plotting and excellent prose, as usual. There really is nothing more to be said. Robert Goddard promises, and delivers in spades, as always. Four and a half stars. If you're already familiar with Goddard's work, then this novel will not disappoint, as it's a wonderful adventure. If you're new, than hop on and join the joyride. You'd be glad you did.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Umiko Wada lives in Tokyo, she wants to live an unassuming life, she doesn’t want excitement she just wants to get through the day without any hassle. She works for a private detective and as exciting as this may sound her days are anything but. However all this changes one day when a client comes in to the office, their case needs someone to go to London, someone who wont ring alarm bells and that someone is Wada. Wada is happy to go, her husband tragically lost his life after the Tokyo subway s Umiko Wada lives in Tokyo, she wants to live an unassuming life, she doesn’t want excitement she just wants to get through the day without any hassle. She works for a private detective and as exciting as this may sound her days are anything but. However all this changes one day when a client comes in to the office, their case needs someone to go to London, someone who wont ring alarm bells and that someone is Wada. Wada is happy to go, her husband tragically lost his life after the Tokyo subway sarin gas attack, she has nobody to go home to and prepares herself for travel making sure to pack her copy of The Makioka Sisters. She is to meet a man in London who has information their client requires, if she can pass herself off as the client it will be an nice easy job for her except we know things never go to plan. The man doesn’t turn up. Nick Miller lives in London, brought up by his mother and her partner, he never knew his father or really wanted to but an old acquaintance of his parents says he has information for him about his father and he will be coming to London so he can tell him in person. Except he doesn’t turn up. Could it be the same man?! Well yes and this is where the book starts putting on the mileage as separately Wada and Nick travel to Devon to see if they can find their mysterious contact, missing each other they then end up in Iceland. The tale then takes a violent turn as people start turning up dead, a mysterious company is buying tracts of land in the country, a sinister Japanese businessman is part of it and it turns out Nick’s father may been embroiled in the midst of all of this along with the case Wada was working on. It is a great mix of energy, with Wada’s Japanese sensibilities against the craziness of what is going on plus her and Nick always seem to miss one another. The story twists and turns and twists again. You need to keep up with it and I really enjoyed doing so. It is a great thriller that doesn’t always take it self too seriously but entertains and thrills at the same time. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Another rattling good read from RG, he never lets you down.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jane Watson

    Another good one from Robert Goddard. Lots of moving around from Japan to London to New York and then to Iceland which was interesting and as always the story moved quickly and raced along. The story seemed a bit confusing at the start but settled down eventually. The main character Wada somehow for me remained a shadowy figure, but perhaps that was meant as one of her best attributes was her ability to appear almost invisible.

  16. 5 out of 5

    jeff popple

    I always look forward to the novels by Robert Goddard and his latest book, The Fine Art Of Invisible Detection, is another clever, twisty tale that kept me engrossed and surprised from beginning to end. The plots of Goddard’s books are always difficult to explain because they move in such unexpected directions that it is hard to describe them without ruining the joy of the many surprises. Suffice to say, The Fine Art Of Invisible Detection opens in Tokyo, but quickly moves Europe as Umiko Wada, a I always look forward to the novels by Robert Goddard and his latest book, The Fine Art Of Invisible Detection, is another clever, twisty tale that kept me engrossed and surprised from beginning to end. The plots of Goddard’s books are always difficult to explain because they move in such unexpected directions that it is hard to describe them without ruining the joy of the many surprises. Suffice to say, The Fine Art Of Invisible Detection opens in Tokyo, but quickly moves Europe as Umiko Wada, a secretary to a private detective, and Englishman Nick Miller try to find out the truth behind some tragic events back in 1977. In recent years Goddard seems to have moved away from his complex, intriguing historical crime novels into the thriller arena, with faster moving and often more violent tales about conspiracies and desperate characters. The Fine Art Of Invisible Detection is certainly more in the thriller field and is a pacey, exciting novel that races from Tokyo to London to the English countryside and Iceland, before returning for a tense climax on a beach in Cornwall. The storyline is interesting, and involves some very up-to-date ideas, and the characters are well crafted and engaging. Wada in particular is a very interesting and credible character, who turns out to be more resourceful than she first appears. It is a fine piece of characterisation by Goddard. The end result is a very enjoyable thriller that kept me guessing all the way to the terrific conclusion and the final reveal. My only reservations are the cover and the odd title, which makes it sound like some sort of Sherlock Holmes pastiche, which it is not! See my full review at: https://murdermayhemandlongdogs.com/f...

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Lee

    I reckon that it must be about 25 years ago that I last read a Robert Goddard book. I remember it as a good book if slightly heavy going and a complex read. That was back in the days when in deciding on which book to take from the library , the decision was taken as much on the physical weight of the book, especially if taking it on holiday, as its reading quality. I have had other Robert Goddard books on my e-shelves since but never actually got around to them. Things will change now. I dont know I reckon that it must be about 25 years ago that I last read a Robert Goddard book. I remember it as a good book if slightly heavy going and a complex read. That was back in the days when in deciding on which book to take from the library , the decision was taken as much on the physical weight of the book, especially if taking it on holiday, as its reading quality. I have had other Robert Goddard books on my e-shelves since but never actually got around to them. Things will change now. I dont know if Goddard has changed publisher but the cover of this one is of a different mould completely. Why this one should tempt me when none of the previous ones have, I dont know. However, I am very pleased that it did. There is something in the way that, what I shall call a 'good' ( for want of a better adjective) author starts to write a story. It doesnt have to be dramatic but it draws you in and makes you feel welcome and you just know that you are going to enjoy the experience. I found it here in an out of the way Private Detective's office in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. It would be wrong to call this a fast paced novel but it certainly is not slow and the skillful switching between scenarios and characters ensures you wont get bored while you start to appreciate a well constructed plot piece by piece. Whereas books that I have read recently tend to save the excitement up to the big ending this has plenty all the way through. I particularly liked all of the clever ending. I think that I shall be reading much more of Mr Goddard's work over the next few years than I did over the last.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘The world went on its way. It was business as usual. Until it wasn’t.’ Umiko Wada, widowed, works as a secretary to Kazuto Kodaka, a private detective in Tokyo. Her mother wants her to remarry, but Wada is comfortable with the current orderliness of her life: managing her boss’s diary and keeping his paperwork under control. But then Kodaka takes on a case which changes everything. He is approached by a woman, Mimori Takenaga, who believes that her father was murdered in London in 1977. As part o ‘The world went on its way. It was business as usual. Until it wasn’t.’ Umiko Wada, widowed, works as a secretary to Kazuto Kodaka, a private detective in Tokyo. Her mother wants her to remarry, but Wada is comfortable with the current orderliness of her life: managing her boss’s diary and keeping his paperwork under control. But then Kodaka takes on a case which changes everything. He is approached by a woman, Mimori Takenaga, who believes that her father was murdered in London in 1977. As part of the investigation, Wada leaves Tokyo for London. She is to meet an Englishman, Martin Caldwell who may have some information. And from here, the action escalates. Kodaka is killed, Wada’s contact in London goes missing. Wada is resourceful and follows leads to Devon and then to Iceland. There is more than one secret being hidden, and more than one person who will kill to make sure that those secrets remain hidden. This is a complex thriller with several well-developed characters, some interesting plot twists, and plenty of action. Will Wada find the answers she is seeking? A dramatic, tense climax on a beach in Cornwall brings much of the story to a conclusion. But Wada has a taste for investigating now, and there are a couple of loose ends… I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I hope that Wada finally finished her reread of ‘The Makioka Sisters’. Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Random House, UK for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daria Soroka

    It was a boring, poorly written crime novel which made me sad. It was full of stereotypes and inconsistencies. Starting from the cover and synopsis which promised a fun and modern witty read, but it turned out really basic. I can compare it to staying in a 3-star hotel that had good pictures and reviews but you ended up in a wore-down room with broken tiles and cigarette odours. I could not wait to check out from this book. (By the way, there were too many hotel names which I didn’t need to know It was a boring, poorly written crime novel which made me sad. It was full of stereotypes and inconsistencies. Starting from the cover and synopsis which promised a fun and modern witty read, but it turned out really basic. I can compare it to staying in a 3-star hotel that had good pictures and reviews but you ended up in a wore-down room with broken tiles and cigarette odours. I could not wait to check out from this book. (By the way, there were too many hotel names which I didn’t need to know to understand the plot: Envoy, Borg, Hilton, Arnarson, Sol, Claridge, Lamb, Jubilee Villa B&B). Forced plot with blank characters would not excite me even if it was my first ever crime novel. Chinese tea is “crap”, Mr. Goddard? Really? Is it supposed to be funny or should readers be amazed by the depth of research you did on the topic? As a tea enthusiast I was frustrated. Also, there are so many “Asian-looking guys” in this book that my eyes are sore. Same goes for the description of Icelanders. And somehow all international characters speak with perfect English idioms in a way only a native would speak. This is probably a result of lack of cultural knowledge and general narrow-mindness of the author. Also, drinking is a problem in this book. Almost all characters except Wada are casually drinking in the morning, at lunch, in the evening, when they talk on the phone, when they are nervous and so on. It is romanticizing alcoholism and it’s disgusting. Avoid this book if you value your time.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nic

    I’d heard great things about the Fine Art of Invisible Detection and it is an excellent read. An intricate and twisty mystery with a decent splash of hokum thrown in. Our main protagonist is Wada, a middle aged administrator in a Tokyo detective agency. When she gets sent to London to meet a contact on behalf of one of her bosses clients, an incredible chain of events begins. Add in New York, Rekyavik, bad guys galore and a James Bond style secret auction and this is superb escapism. However, th I’d heard great things about the Fine Art of Invisible Detection and it is an excellent read. An intricate and twisty mystery with a decent splash of hokum thrown in. Our main protagonist is Wada, a middle aged administrator in a Tokyo detective agency. When she gets sent to London to meet a contact on behalf of one of her bosses clients, an incredible chain of events begins. Add in New York, Rekyavik, bad guys galore and a James Bond style secret auction and this is superb escapism. However, that is not to understate the clever plotting, smart storyline and brilliant ending. I’m hoping for another instalment. I listened to the audiobook and the narration was really good. Although you need to concentrate to keep up with the plot!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dawn Marsanne

    I've been a huge fan of Robert Goddard. His early books are fantastic. This one started out with promise then became ridiculous. Towards the end I got so confused that I didn't care what happened. I've been a huge fan of Robert Goddard. His early books are fantastic. This one started out with promise then became ridiculous. Towards the end I got so confused that I didn't care what happened.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Allison Tandy

    Really enjoyed this. Fast paced. Never a dull moment.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Paul Reid

    Loved this. A great and unorthodox hero character. Reminded me a bit of Steig Larsson in style, and a really entertaining plot with a good ending. I can see this making a good film or mini-series and it’s was an intriguing read.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gill

    Oh wow, I absolutely loved this book. Plot twists at every turn of the page. Dead bodies here, there and everywhere. From Tokyo to London to Devon to Reykjavik to Cornwall. It really was an edge of your seat crime/thriller. Crime fiction has never really been a genre I pay a lot of attention to. I’m missing out – big time if this book is anything to go by. I’d not heard of Robert Goddard, but he’s written a lot of books and I would definitely try another by this author. Anyway to the plot. Firstl Oh wow, I absolutely loved this book. Plot twists at every turn of the page. Dead bodies here, there and everywhere. From Tokyo to London to Devon to Reykjavik to Cornwall. It really was an edge of your seat crime/thriller. Crime fiction has never really been a genre I pay a lot of attention to. I’m missing out – big time if this book is anything to go by. I’d not heard of Robert Goddard, but he’s written a lot of books and I would definitely try another by this author. Anyway to the plot. Firstly there’s quite a few Japanese names to get your head around. I’m sure my pronunciation of names was way out and at first I did struggle a little remembering who was who and what was a person’s name and what was a company name, but as I read on I got there eventually. Then the story moves on to Reykjavik and we have to start all over again with Icelandic names, this book is certainly a test of your concentration, but it keeps you focused that’s for sure. The central character to the story is Umiko Wada. She originally worked as a PA to a Private Investigator Kazuto Kodaka in Tokyo. Then when he takes on a new case he asks Wada (everyone calls her by just her surname) to take on a more involved role than just PA and invites her to go to London to help him with the case he’s just taken on. For reasons we won’t go into here, Wada ends up trying to solve the case on her own which leaves her thinking on her feet and finding herself in constant danger. I really liked Wada. Her tenacity never lets her down, she’s brave, clever and always manages to keep one step ahead of the enemy. There are a lot of characters in the book and at times I struggled a little to keep track of them all but every one of them has a part to play. There are just so many twists and turns and nail biting moments which all lead to a tense ending. Even then when you think you’re finished, the end – there is one final twist! Oooh so good, it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle, and it’s fascinating to watch each little piece slot into place.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mandy

    Absolutely fabulous.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    I was interested in this book because one of the main protagonists is named Nick Miller. Nick Millers can do no wrong and Nick Millers with familial mysteries are even better. Nick Millers activist mother has recently died and the skeletons in the cupboard start rattling long quiet bones. On the other side of the world Wada is working for a PI who gets murdered while investigating powerful criminals who leave “shadows” everywhere. One of these shadows is cast over the murder of Wadas husband twe I was interested in this book because one of the main protagonists is named Nick Miller. Nick Millers can do no wrong and Nick Millers with familial mysteries are even better. Nick Millers activist mother has recently died and the skeletons in the cupboard start rattling long quiet bones. On the other side of the world Wada is working for a PI who gets murdered while investigating powerful criminals who leave “shadows” everywhere. One of these shadows is cast over the murder of Wadas husband twenty years ago in a risin attack on the subway. Wada wants to get to the bottom of it and as she investigates she keeps tripping over Nick Miller. I liked this book, family drama is always fun and the Japanese parts were interesting. Wada is a woman after my own heart, she’s happiest alone and in her own head that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like other people it just means she doesn’t particularly need them. She’s one of the grown ups. Nick on the other hand is a bit of a flapper but he gets there on the end. Two handers are always a bit difficult, there was more than a bit of repetition as both Nick and Wada came at the investigation from the same lead and I kept waiting for them to cross paths which they never really did so that was a bit unsatisfying. I did like the bait and switch at the end. I do like unresolved loose ends sometimes. It leaves the door open just a crack.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Pawson

    Just when you think your on the right track with following Wada with her journey of investigation your thrown another curveball in this exciting mystery. Sent to London by her boss to pose as a client Wada is drawn into a mystery that spans 40 years and the mystery drowning of 2 students. Nick Miller will be drawn to this mystery from a different direction in looking for a father he never knew. Each chapter takes you from Japan to London to Iceland to find missing persons, murders, Contract kill Just when you think your on the right track with following Wada with her journey of investigation your thrown another curveball in this exciting mystery. Sent to London by her boss to pose as a client Wada is drawn into a mystery that spans 40 years and the mystery drowning of 2 students. Nick Miller will be drawn to this mystery from a different direction in looking for a father he never knew. Each chapter takes you from Japan to London to Iceland to find missing persons, murders, Contract killers on your trail, how can you possibly survive and protect your family. This is a story you will not want to put down it takes you on so many turns and offers plenty of red herrings for your reading pleasure. I was given an arc of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jane Hunt

    This is an international mystery thriller with great attention to detail and numerous twists. The locations range from Japan to London with many diverse characters. Wada is an intriguing character whose investigations are fraught with danger as powerful people act to protect the secrets they need to stay hidden. The pacing and plot twists keep the reader engaged, and the numerous characters offer an insight into human behaviour. I received a copy of this book from Random House UK-Transworld in re This is an international mystery thriller with great attention to detail and numerous twists. The locations range from Japan to London with many diverse characters. Wada is an intriguing character whose investigations are fraught with danger as powerful people act to protect the secrets they need to stay hidden. The pacing and plot twists keep the reader engaged, and the numerous characters offer an insight into human behaviour. I received a copy of this book from Random House UK-Transworld in return for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Caroline Kerdouci

    Actual rating 4.5 stars Meet Umiko Wada, personal assistant to Kazuto Kodaka a one man detective agency in the heart of Tokyo. Widowed when her husband was killed in a sarin gas subway attack, this woman’s life is about to change irrevocably when her boss takes on client Mimori Takenaga wishing to uncover the truth behind the alleged suicide of her father in London many years ago. Requiring Wada to fly to London, impersonating his client, Kodaka sets Wada off on an investigation that places all Actual rating 4.5 stars Meet Umiko Wada, personal assistant to Kazuto Kodaka a one man detective agency in the heart of Tokyo. Widowed when her husband was killed in a sarin gas subway attack, this woman’s life is about to change irrevocably when her boss takes on client Mimori Takenaga wishing to uncover the truth behind the alleged suicide of her father in London many years ago. Requiring Wada to fly to London, impersonating his client, Kodaka sets Wada off on an investigation that places all those involved, of which there are quite a few, in immeasurable danger. Some will survive, others will fall by the wayside so prepare to bring your A game to the table if you want to join Wada in solving this most complex of mysteries as she travels to various destinations around the globe in a race to unearth deeply buried secrets and ultimately expose the truth. Before you can begin to grapple with the Tokyo London connection you need to meet another main player in this storyline, Englishman and art teacher Nick Miller who is inadvertently embroiled in this mystery, starting with a phone call from an acquaintance of his recently deceased mother. Martin Caldwell is in possession of information regarding the true identity of Nick’s father previously assumed to be that of Geoff Nolan and requests that they meet. Nick’s interest is piqued by this strange, out of the blue request from a man whose connection to his mother lies in the past and their student days in Exeter. As Nick discovers more about his mother, the young Caro Miller and her partner April and the identity of his absent father, links between him, the events of the past and the dealings of a well known Japanese businessman are tentatively forged. As Martin Caldwell gives both Nick and Wada the runaround, expect violence and death to accompany our unassuming detective as she endeavours to crack the case. I can’t believe this is my first introduction to this author’s writing but better late than never. Taking the reader from Tokyo, to London, to Reykjavik and Cornwall and Devon this is most definitely a thriller to exercise the grey matter. You can’t afford to let your mind drift for one moment otherwise you’ll be in danger of losing the thread and wonder what on earth is going on! With Japanese and Icelandic character names, of which there are plenty and place names that I had no idea how to pronounce it’s easy to get a trifle confused but don’t let that put you off. Whilst this type of thriller is not my usual kind of go to read, tending to choose psychological ones over the more action packed ones I’m glad I persevered. Goddard has crafted an intelligent, complex and pacy thriller that keeps your brain cells ticking over and is difficult to put down. If you can keep your wits about you and untangle the knottiest of knots then you’ll realise that greed, treachery and fraud foster the majority of the ruthless behaviour displayed by some of these characters. Evidence of double crossings and dubious shady dealings abound. The more entrenched I became in Wada’s investigation the more I enjoyed trying to anticipate everyone’s next moves, patience and fortitude requisite attributes in this cat and mouse game in which the opponents are elusive and powerful. This thriller wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without the presence of such an unlikely detective as Umiko Wada. Small in stature she’s a formidable opponent against the prime targets in her investigation reminding me of a female Bond type figure when the occasion demands. Although she’s thrown in at the deep end, Wada exhibits a natural flair for her undercover role applying stealth and cunning to every situation. Invisible to so many she manages to slip under the radar time and time again despite numerous and rigorous attempts to thwart her progress. The fact this woman is in possession of a death defying invincibility, like a cat with nine lives makes her a refreshingly unusual but wonderful heroine. Her sharp brain and her personal interest in unravelling the almost impenetrable connections between a Japanese businessman and the historic events that take place in Cornwall London and in the present day Reykjavik suggests she’s the ideal ( albeit only!) candidate to carry out this investigation. I had every confidence she would come up smelling of roses! My mind permanently in overdrive I can honestly say I loved this thriller and oh my goodness what an ending! Out of nowhere Goddard surprises you with a most spectacular twist to wrap up this pacy thriller. Think fireworks, it’s that explosive! My jaw literally dropped to the floor, leaving me in no doubt of this author’s ability to weave a highly credible, lively and compelling piece of thrilling fiction. I’m in total agreement that Robert Goddard is a master of labyrinthine plotting; he keeps you on the edge of your seat, awaiting each new dramatic development with fascination and trepidation. I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this thriller and hope that isn’t the last we’ll see of this pocket sized detective but fear this may be her one and only chance to shine! I highly recommend. My thanks as always to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rob McMinn

    This was another 99p download, and, hot on the heels of The Honjin Murders, another detective novel with a Japanese connection. One of our protagonists here is Umiko Wada, the general factotum to Kazuto Kodaka, who runs an agency specialising in uncovering corporate espionage. So far so good. A Tokyo-set thriller, you might think. But then a client comes in who wants her husband’s death in London, decades before, to be investigated, and it falls to Wada to travel to England, posing as the widow. A This was another 99p download, and, hot on the heels of The Honjin Murders, another detective novel with a Japanese connection. One of our protagonists here is Umiko Wada, the general factotum to Kazuto Kodaka, who runs an agency specialising in uncovering corporate espionage. So far so good. A Tokyo-set thriller, you might think. But then a client comes in who wants her husband’s death in London, decades before, to be investigated, and it falls to Wada to travel to England, posing as the widow. And it’s in England that we meet our second protagonist, Nick Miller, a private school teacher and artist who is vaguely troubled by the fact that he never knew his father. And now that his late mother is out of the picture and his wife is away with friends, he decides to bite when an old family acquaintance contacts him. By coincidence, this acquaintance is also Wada’s connection in London, and both she and Nick are thrown into the plot when the connection doesn’t connect. So this turns out not to be the Tokyo-set story I was anticipating, but a more international, country-hopping, zig-zagging thriller, which takes us from London to Cornwall, then New York, Rekjavik, Rotterdam, Cambridge… with Nick and Wada independently investigating different ends of the same mystery. It’s an entertaining read, though with an oddly light tone, considering the body count herein. This lightness of tone is also picked up in the cover design, with its quirky font, and all-in-all there’s a mismatch between the marketing and the contents, so that you end up feeling the publisher didn’t know how to pitch this. There’s also a climate crisis angle, which is unexpected, and which also seems to have nothing to do with the novel’s cute title, which in the end doesn’t have much to do with anything. Wada is introduced as the kind of person you don’t notice, but then everybody seems to notice her, so the title really doesn’t work. All of that mismatching makes this interesting, because it reflects the two narrative strands, with two protagonists, one of them very aware of what the bad guy is capable of, and the other thinking that he’s tidying up some loose family ends. So it works, if you like, because it does not work.

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