Borrowed Time

ISBN: 0385339224
ISBN 13: 9780385339223
By: Robert Goddard

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1990s Crime Currently Reading Fiction Mysteries Mystery Mystery Thriller Suspense Thriller To Read

About this book

It is a golden evening of high summer in July 1990. Robin Timariot has set out that morning on what he has planned as a six-day tramp along part of Offa's Dyke. At the close of his first day's walk he encounters an  elegant middle-aged woman who seems strangely out of place among the sheep and gorse of Hergest Ridge. They exchange only a few words of conversation, but their talk is enigmatic -- and unforgettable. A few days later, at the end of his walk, Timariot returns home to learn from the newspapers that, just a few hours after their meeting, the woman, whose name was Louise Paxton, was raped and then murdered, along with an artist, Oscar Bantock, who lived near by.A man is swiftly charged and convicted of the crime, but a string of inexplicable events begins to convince Timariot -- and others -- that all is not what it seems. Timariot, fascinated by Louise Paxton's memory, is drawn irresistibly into the complex motives and relationships of her family and friends, searching against his better judgement for the secret of what really happened on the day she died. The closer he gets to the truth, the more hideous and uncertain it seems to be. And far too late he realizes that it may threaten many powerful people. So much so that anybody who uncovers it is unlikely to be allowed to live.From the Paperback edition.

Reader's Thoughts


I tried to finish this book, but it was just too slow moving.

Judith Cranswick

Critics who look down crime fiction claiming that it has little literary merit have never read Robert Goddard. Goddard's choice of words and his wonderful descriptive passages serve only to heighten rather than decrease the tension. There is suspense and menace aplenty. Goddard is a master plotter, the twists and turns keep one reading long after the reader had intended to stop. Although not his best novel, Borrowed Time proved compulsive reading right to the very final twist.

Carl Wholey

Good, enjoyable read. Characters were well developed and believable on the whole, complete with a twisting plot. However, I feel the whole plot rests on the return of the hero and his pushy sister in law to the place of the murders. I didn't get that bit, not quite plausible in my eyes. Never the less, a good read that would suit a beach or sunlouger. I would hope to read more Goddard in the future.


A bit long winded, but really good characters. The ending was unexpected

Jennifer Jowsey

this was one of the slowest moving, dullest, most excruciating books i've ever read. the last 8 pages or so before the epilogue were decent, but the rest ... it just dragged terribly. there was more about the board meetings of the cricket company than discussion of the mystery. i was disappointed.

Artnoose Noose

Having finished reading my trip-book on the way to my parents' house, I asked my mom to lend me a book while I was visiting, something somewhat suspenseful that would keep my attention. She had just read this book and recommended it, although she has liked other books by this author better. I had a lot of free time and therefore got through it pretty quickly, and it did the job that it was supposed to do. I think there are books that I qualify as "stuck" books--- good for if you're stuck at an airport, at your parents' house, in the hospital, etc. As in, not something you'd choose if you had greater choice, but entertaining enough. So, if you're stuck somewhere and want to read a mystery book with lots of surprise twists in it, you could do worse.

Phil Roberts

Took a while to get going but loved the twists and turns.

Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)

An enjoyable read. The plot is original and the characters are interesting. But this book is unlike the usual books in the same genre. There is a touch of psychology and mysticism. The characters have a haunting nature and often disturb our thoughts. After finishing the book,I felt a bit hollow inside. It was not what I expected. As the story progressed,more and more facts unravelled but instead of making things more clear,it made it more complicated. A must-read for those who love real thrillers. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Paul J.

Great summer read! Loved the character development and multiple plot twists. While so many writers back themselves into a corner, Goddard did the opposite. He could have ended this book in half a dozen ways, and any one of them would have been believable and satisfying.

Robert Beveridge

There are three types of mystery novels. The best of them grab you by the throat and pull you along. You give up eating and sleeping to get through them in one sitting. The worst of them can be encapsulized in a page and a half, you've figured out who the killer is in three sentences, and you can safely consign them to the fire without enduring the rest of the writing therein. The third type sits between the two. It's well-written enough, and fine while you're reading it, but you don't feel that compulsion to continue when something else beckons; you don't resent the phone ringing when you hear it. These are the good mysteries (as opposed to the great ones). Robert Goddard writes good mysteries. This is his eighth, the story of how a man on a hike's chance encounter with a beautiful woman gets him (and some members of his family) tangled up in her family's odd twists and turns. It's well plotted, moves along at a steady if not brisk pace, and there are enough satisfying twists and turns to keep the reader occupied. But it doesn't beg to be picked up every time it's put down. Perhaps the problem lies in Goddard's writing style, which is a bit on the thick side; perhaps it's just his characters, who always seem to be teetering on the brink of two-dimensionality without ever actually getting there (that, of course, is a charge that can be laid against many mysteries, including some of the best; Spillane's female characters, e.g., had all the depth of a lasagna noodle). Or perhaps, Borrowed Time just doesn't read as fast as some of its contemporaries. It's certainly not a bad novel, and mystery fans who have grown tired of reading the same authors over and over again might do well to refresh themselves with a dip in Goddard's pool. Just don't be expecting another Lehane, Parker, or Highsmith. ** 1/2


I normally like Robert Goddard's books as they usually have a fantastic twist. This was not one of his good ones. I found the main character unlikeable and the story pretty pedestrian. I wouldn't recommend this one.

Hazel McHaffie

Having loved Past Caring I ordered three more Goddard books. Borrowed Time has a very complicated plot - just when you think the mystery is resolving it all unravels again. Not as good as Past Caring but still impressive.

Thomas Strömquist

"Virtually impossible to put down, this must be the best Goddard-book I've read (i.e. making it one of the best mystery/suspense/thrillers I know :-)). A random short encounter and a grisly double killing is followed by the involvement of the main character in a sequence of events where seemingly small descisions have life-altering consequences. And of course, nothing is quite what it seems."


Great ending - didn't see that coming, and worth it after quite a slow but still absorbing story which built up and built up

R.k. Bisht

superb storylines, last part is just too thrilling.

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