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Sim Goodchild

Sim Goodchild owns the book shop in Greenfield, London. He is a peripheral character in the first two sections of Darkness Visible, but he becomes entangled in Matty and Sophy’s narratives in Part Three. Goodchild is somewhat obsessed by the Stanhope twins – Sophy and Toni – and delights in their appearance and good manners when they visit the shop as children. He puts children’s books in the window of the bookshop as ‘bait’ for the twins. He confesses to Edwin Bell that he was ‘in love’ with the girls, although assures him that he loved them in a ‘paternal’ manner. Nonetheless, his behaviour here is uncomfortable.

Bell persuades Goodchild to join him in meetings with Matty, where they participate in a strange ritual of spiritual cleansing. Touching Matty makes him feel ‘holy’. As this takes place in Sophy and Toni’s building, Goodchild crosses paths with the now-adult Sophy, who has a coil of rope and a chair with restraints. He assumes these are for sexual purposes in a darkly humorous scene. Goodchild’s presence in the stables means he is innocently caught up in Sophy’s kidnapping plot, and becomes a target for public derision.