The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press
The Mysterious Press

The Ways of the World

A James Maxted Thriller

by Robert Goddard

In this historical thriller from an internationally bestselling author, a daring young British pilot is swept into the world of international intrigue surrounding the Treaty of Versailles when his diplomat father turns up dead.

  • Imprint The Mysterious Press
  • Page Count 432
  • Publication Date June 14, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2506-4
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $17.00

About The Book

From the Edgar Award-winning, internationally bestselling British writer Robert Goddard comes the first book in a captivating new trilogy of historical thrillers set at the tail end of World War I and featuring the devilishly charismatic James ‘max” Maxted, a Royal Flying Corps veteran who has a hard time keeping himself out of trouble.

Four years of horrific battlefield fighting have finally ended, and in the spring of 1919, Paris is filled with delegates from around the world who are trying to hammer out the terms of peace. One such delegate is British diplomat Sir Henry Maxted, in charge of liaising with the Brazilians regarding seized ships. But before a deal is reached, Sir Henry turns up dead outside a Montparnasse apartment building, apparently having fallen from the roof. His sons Max and Ashley are sent to Paris to collect the body, and it quickly becomes clear that the theory the French police have put forward is flawed. But since the murder of a diplomat could be disastrous for the peace conference, no one is keen to ask questions—except Max.

What begins as an innocent inquiry into his father’s death soon leads Max into a dangerous world of secret allegiances, international espionage, and double-crossing at the highest levels of government. How far is he willing to go to discover the truth about the death of a father he barely knew? And how much will the authorities—and others—let him find out before threatening his own life?


“Former Lt. James (Max) Maxted, the dashing protagonist of Robert Goddard’s historical espionage thriller . . . is a refreshing throwback to an earlier romantic tradition of heroes . . . A rip-roaring adventure . . . Paris in 1919 is a snake pit of spies, counterspies, traitors and turncoats—just the setting for this convoluted tale . . . We’re sure to see this charismatic chap again in what the author promises will be a trilogy of high-action adventures.” —Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

“Robert Goddard is the master of complex, tricky thrillers that dazzle with surprises. . . Another stellar performance.” —Sydney Morning Herald

“Dashed good yarn-spanning. . . . The action is insistent and often deadly.” —Toronto Star

“Enjoyable . . . Goddard evokes time and place with an expert hand . . . Fans of period mysteries set in times of historical transition will be satisfied.” —Publishers Weekly

“[Goddard is] still producing the riffs on historical crime fiction that are his sweet spot, but his new book’s absorbing language and artful depictions of physical locations, along with a plot that falls somewhere between Georges Simenon and Graham Greene, should keep readers rapt . . . Atmospheric . . . A sly, highbrow take on the espionage thriller with a rich background that lends sophistication to an already opulent story.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A spy-thriller plot strung with reels of barbed-wire complexity . . . Goddard paints the Paris of that era with sure strokes.” —Harry Levins, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Wildly entertaining . . . Goddard has long been one of the genre’s cleverest plotters and most accomplished prose stylists . . . The prospect of a series starring a suave yet gutsy WWI vet cavorting about the international espionage stage (imagine Cary Grant in the role) is, well, more than a little intoxicating . . . Goddard assembles around Max as savvy, as well spoken, and as treacherous a band of double-dealing con artists as we’ve seen since Caspar Gutman, Joel Cairo, and Brigid Shaughnessy joined forces to hunt a black bird.” —Bill Ott, Booklist (starred review)

“Engaging . . . Goddard . . . unfolds his novel like a jeweler, one facet at a time, and just when you think you might have glimpsed the extent of the stone, he shows you another facet, and another, until you’re not sure just how big it is, or how many reflections it casts.” —Novel Historian

“A gripping mystery and one that will leave you breathless waiting for the next episode of the trilogy.” —Eyes on World Cultures

“Cleverly plotted . . . there is plenty here to keep the pages turning . . . Most of all, it is exceptionally well written . . . Goddard manages to evoke the period style without overdoing it.” —Yvonne Klein, Reviewing the Evidence

“The first of a promising new trilogy . . . An adventure complete with spies, a sidekick, peril, suspense, and a girl (because hey, there’s always a girl) . . . A good setup for the rest of the series, which I have a feeling just gets better and better.” —Books For Her

“The first in a trilogy by Robert Goddard, a popular writer in his native England but less known here . . . I welcome further adventures of the square-jawed Maxted.” —Adam Woog, Seattle Times


Max grasped the receiver. “Mother?”

“James?” No telephone line could drain from her voice the querulousness that always seemed to attach itself to her pronunciation of his name.

“Yes. I’m here.”

“I think you should come home at once.” By home she meant Gresscombe Place, the house in Surrey where Max had spent a sizeable portion of his childhood and youth without ever quite thinking of it as home. “There’s been . . . an accident.”

“What sort of accident?” Max felt the mildest tug of anxiety, but nothing more. Surviving the aerial war in France had inured him to most of the calamities of everyday existence. Whatever his mother might be about to say, it surely did not represent a turning point in his life.

But such moments come when fate decrees. And this was such a moment. “It’s your father, James,” said Lady Maxted. “He’s been killed, I’m afraid.”