Goddard, Robert - 'Fault Line'
Jonathan Kellaway is due to take early retirement from Intercontinental Kaolins, a major China Clay producer in America. He is given a message by the Chief Executive that the former Chairman and major shareholder Greville Lashley wants him to do one last job. Lashley had asked the board to commission a history of the company. There was a merger of the British Cornish China Clays and North American Kaolins and the historian employed to write the history has discovered there are missing records from Cornish Clay and is refusing to continue. Against his better judgement Jonathan travels to St Austell in Cornwall to find out the problem.
This journey recalls memories of living in Cornwall in 1968 whilst waiting to go to London University, where he took a temporary job with a small local china clay producer Walter Wren. The MD is Lashley and he soon makes friends with Lashley's stepson Oliver, who is badly affected by the suicide of his father nine years earlier. Through Oliver he meets his beautiful sister Vivien and on the promise of getting to know Vivien better he helps Oliver gain entry to the Wren's storeroom where records and invoices are stored. Oliver believes that Lashley will convince the board to sell Wren's to the larger Cornish China Clay company. Oliver is determined to frustrate the deal. However within days Oliver is found dead.
Jonathan and Vivien are convinced that Oliver's death has something to do with Vivien's great-uncle Francis who used to work in the company but now lives with his wife in Capri. Jonathan and Vivien travel to the island to stay with Francis and Luisa Wren. Can Jonathan learn the truth? Can he find the missing records? Will there be more fatalities?
Switching between the late sixties and the present day and between Cornwall and Capri, this is the author's usual well constructed, researched and convoluted plot. It keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens next. This is his twenty-third book and is as excellent as all his previous books have been. Mr Goddard uses his love of history well for another brilliant thriller. Very highly recommended. I can't wait for number twenty-four.
Geoff Jones, England