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The first book in Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie Mysteries series, called "The best mystery of the decade" by Stephen King, finds private investigator Jackson Brodie following three seemingly unconnected family mysteries in Edinburgh Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night. Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random att The first book in Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie Mysteries series, called "The best mystery of the decade" by Stephen King, finds private investigator Jackson Brodie following three seemingly unconnected family mysteries in Edinburgh Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night. Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack. Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape. Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . .


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The first book in Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie Mysteries series, called "The best mystery of the decade" by Stephen King, finds private investigator Jackson Brodie following three seemingly unconnected family mysteries in Edinburgh Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night. Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random att The first book in Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie Mysteries series, called "The best mystery of the decade" by Stephen King, finds private investigator Jackson Brodie following three seemingly unconnected family mysteries in Edinburgh Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night. Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack. Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape. Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . .

30 review for Case Histories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kinga

    This should actually get two stars only but me and Kate Atkinson go way back. I read her 'Behind the Scenes in the Museum' when I was a newbie to the grown-up literature and I loved it. I am quite afraid to go and revisit it now because after reading 'Case Histories' I am not sure if Atkinson can actually write. This is some sort of psychological drama/crime story, so you don't expect the writing to knock you of your feet. However, quite often I read that Atkinson writes 'literary crime fiction' This should actually get two stars only but me and Kate Atkinson go way back. I read her 'Behind the Scenes in the Museum' when I was a newbie to the grown-up literature and I loved it. I am quite afraid to go and revisit it now because after reading 'Case Histories' I am not sure if Atkinson can actually write. This is some sort of psychological drama/crime story, so you don't expect the writing to knock you of your feet. However, quite often I read that Atkinson writes 'literary crime fiction' and that is an overstatement at best. And if it isn't an overstatement, then I really don't want to read the non-literary crime fiction. The main character is Jackson, private detective who is trying to resolve 3 or 4 different cases at the same time. There are constant changes of POV and we are stuck in the characters' heads and informed about their every little thought. I think there are way better ways to create a character than to drown the reader in their never ending stream of consciousness. I will give you an example: "The language students all seemed to be dressed in combats, in khaki and comouflage, as if there were a war going on and they were the troops (God help us if that were the case). And the bikes, why did people think bikes were a good thing? Why were cyclists so smug? Why did cyclists ride on pavements when there were perfectly good cycle lanes? And who thought it was a good idea to rent bicycles to Italian adolescent language students? If hell did exist, which Jackson was sure it did, it would be governed by a committee of fifteen-year-old Italian boys on bikes." Well, if hell does exists, I am sure it is filled with books full of hackneyed inner rants. Also, is it me, or is something seriously grammatically wrong with the last sentence I quoted? "Shirley was wearing blue surgical scrubs. Jackson didn't think there was anything much sexier than the sight of a woman in surgical scrubs and wondered if he was alone in thinking that or if most guys did. There should be opinion polls on these things." Opinion polls, what? Why am I reading this? Let's just say that if I wrote anything like the paragraph above my creative writing teacher/consultant would rip me to pieces and tell me to take up knitting. Another thing that annoyed me was a very lazy presentation of the backstory of each 'case'. We are quickly presented with a bunch of stereotypical characters summarised in a couple of sentences so we are left with no doubt as to how we are supposed to feel about them. There were too many subplots that were random and served only as breaking points for another subplots. I only managed to muster enough of enthusiasm to care about one of the 'cases'. There was as well a lot of build-up that promised you God-knows-what but the resolution fell flat on its tits. Actually, f that, I am changing it to two stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Case Histories- Jackson Brodie # 1- by Kate Atkinson is a 2007 Little, Brown and Co. publication. Jackson Brodie, private detective, has an interesting case load: A father looking for the man who viciously murdered his daughter, an elderly lady with so many cats, Jackson must help her look for them, a pair of eccentric sisters looking for the truth about their missing sister, and the sister of an ax murderer is looking for her runaway niece. The cases are ones where a client wished to investigat Case Histories- Jackson Brodie # 1- by Kate Atkinson is a 2007 Little, Brown and Co. publication. Jackson Brodie, private detective, has an interesting case load: A father looking for the man who viciously murdered his daughter, an elderly lady with so many cats, Jackson must help her look for them, a pair of eccentric sisters looking for the truth about their missing sister, and the sister of an ax murderer is looking for her runaway niece. The cases are ones where a client wished to investigate privately, or the investigations by traditional law enforcement, went cold. The history of each case is detailed, with one or two more fleshed out than the others. The main story involves the case of Julia and Amelia's young sister, many years ago. After their father passed way, they discover shocking evidence which prompts them to seek Jackson’s professional help. However, the cases, and the lives of those involved, are interconnected, often in the smallest and most unique ways. I love British mysteries, so this one appealed to me right away. Jackson Brodie is hilarious on occasion and I loved his inner monologues. The cases are compelling and very interesting, plus the author did a very good job of connecting the characters and cases in ways they may not be entirely aware of. As a ‘first in a series’ book, I thought things got off to a good start. Sure, the personal life of Amelia was slightly overdone and carried on a bit too long, but other than that, I enjoyed the mystery and the way the cases came together. I am already looking forward to Jackson Brodie’s next big adventure. 3.5 stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This is one of the best detective novels I have read in a really long time. Set mostly in Cambridge, England, it's the story of a private detective as he tries to solve three cold cases (I mean, REALLY cold - the most recent crime is still 10 years old) as they all interweave and mix in with personal life. In theory, the plot is nothing special; some missing persons and murder cases, and the details are revealed as the story develops, and the detective's personal life is a mess and someone is tr This is one of the best detective novels I have read in a really long time. Set mostly in Cambridge, England, it's the story of a private detective as he tries to solve three cold cases (I mean, REALLY cold - the most recent crime is still 10 years old) as they all interweave and mix in with personal life. In theory, the plot is nothing special; some missing persons and murder cases, and the details are revealed as the story develops, and the detective's personal life is a mess and someone is trying to kill him. What made this book exceptional was Atkinson's writing ability. Her style is not your run-of-the-mill airport paperback simple prose and dialogue. She has a gorgeous, intimate writing style, pulling you into the personal stories of the living people in the book, and then nonchalantly throwing in the "crime drama" stuff as an afterthought. I loved this book, and I'll be looking for her next book, which apparently was published in 2006.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jon

    I'm less enthusiastic about this book than Nikki. I certainly enjoyed the author's wry humor; her characters were both thoroughly imagined and presented with great empathy; and her detective was unique. I also appreciate authors trying to stretch the mystery genre and find ways to alter its railroad-track kind of plotting. All to the good. But her attempt at plot manipulation was confusing at first and eventually just annoying. She told three (or four, depending on how you count) different murde I'm less enthusiastic about this book than Nikki. I certainly enjoyed the author's wry humor; her characters were both thoroughly imagined and presented with great empathy; and her detective was unique. I also appreciate authors trying to stretch the mystery genre and find ways to alter its railroad-track kind of plotting. All to the good. But her attempt at plot manipulation was confusing at first and eventually just annoying. She told three (or four, depending on how you count) different murder stories, skipping from one to the other without immediately apparent reason. That I could handle; but she also skipped around chronologically in each story, and that was one step too complicated for me. If there had been some emotional payoff for such manipulation, or even a brilliant denouement in which everything from all the plots became clear at once, I could have been more enthusiastic. But there appeared (to me, at least) no particular reason for developing the stories this way, other than simply to do it. I found myself grasping at characters and trying to remember who they were when a plot point would be raised and then not returned to for fifty pages. And it didn't help when one female character whose first husband was named Jessop but who had now remarried, was referred to as Kim Strachan, nee Jessop. In a "normally" plotted book I would have skipped over a mistake like this, but here I was just barely hanging on to characters by my fingernails, and I had to search back to reassure myself that she had indeed been Jessop's wife, not his sister or daughter. This book is about survivors learning to cope with the deaths of loved ones. It does that very well; but shoehorning that into a form that calls for detection and (presumably) punishment left me pretty unsatisfied.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kim

    What a joy it is to not only discover an author I haven't read before, but to read a book which I did not want to put down! That is the effect that this novel had on me. As a long-time reader of crime fiction, it is also a joy to read such a literate and character-driven mystery, which does not fit neatly into any particular crime fiction sub-genre. While crimes are committed and a detective is there to solve them, neither the crimes themselves nor their resolution are what makes the novel live What a joy it is to not only discover an author I haven't read before, but to read a book which I did not want to put down! That is the effect that this novel had on me. As a long-time reader of crime fiction, it is also a joy to read such a literate and character-driven mystery, which does not fit neatly into any particular crime fiction sub-genre. While crimes are committed and a detective is there to solve them, neither the crimes themselves nor their resolution are what makes the novel live and breathe. For me, this is primarily a novel about relationships: in particular the relationships between siblings and those between parents and children. Atkinson describes warm, loving relationships, relationships made brittle by loss and fear, and relationships destroyed by time and circumstance. The theme of "lost girls" is explicitly raised and reiterated within the narrative: a much loved youngest sister is missing, an adored daughter is murdered, another daughter is lost. These are the seemingly random but ultimately inter-connected cases investigated (or not) by Atkinson's detective protagonist, Jackson Brodie. However, Brodie does not stand apart from the victims: his relationship with his daughter and his siblings is woven into and becomes part of the overall story arc. There is so much I love about this novel. The characters themselves are wonderfully brought to life. The narrative technique, with its shifts in point of view and time, its folding back on itself as parts of the story intersect with other parts is clever, but not annoyingly so. While the narrative does rely on coincidence, in the context of this novel that felt okay. Actually, not just okay, but right, because all readers have experienced random coincidences which come from nowhere and yet profoundly affect their lives. The language is clear and crisp. There is suspense (I wouldn't have read the novel in two sittings had this not been the case!) and there is emotion. I laughed and I cried and from time to time I even gasped. As a reader I can't really ask for much more than that. If this novel is an example of the general calibre of Kate Atkinson's writing, then I'm really looking forward to reading more. Highly recommended for readers who like character-driven narratives and who don't need their crime fiction to slot neatly into a particular genre.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    I really, really disliked this book. I was ready to put it down by page 20, but slogged on. If this was supposed to be a "literary thriller," it failed miserably on both accounts. On top of Atkinson's cliched writing style, there were multitudes of plot strands that were ridiculously and not credibly interwoven; many parents (again, not credibly) indifferent to their children; a toll of murder, death, attempted murder, rape, and sexual abuse that had risen almost too high to count by the end (gr I really, really disliked this book. I was ready to put it down by page 20, but slogged on. If this was supposed to be a "literary thriller," it failed miserably on both accounts. On top of Atkinson's cliched writing style, there were multitudes of plot strands that were ridiculously and not credibly interwoven; many parents (again, not credibly) indifferent to their children; a toll of murder, death, attempted murder, rape, and sexual abuse that had risen almost too high to count by the end (gratuitous would not be overstating it); facile quirkiness and dysfunctionality that was supposed to pass for richness of characterization; endless plot twists large and small, and character shifts, that felt more like being jerked around. A self-loathing, nearly virginal spinster joins a nudist group and becomes an orgasmic lesbian. The PI hired to solve these cold cases, whom we're asked to believe is a doting father, has an 8-year old daughter who wears a t-shirt inscribed "So Many Boys, So Little Time" and he doesn't make her change it. Only one character was remotely likable, the fat (as we are told endlessly) hapless Theo, and really only because he was so pitiable. I think we're supposed to find the story whimsical and eccentric, but ultimately it's disgusting, malevolent, yet completely banal.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Definitely a page-turner! And one that relies not on plot alone, but on character development much more, which makes it my kind of page-turner. I truly didn't ever want to put it down. I ended up feeling that I knew these people and missed them when I was finished. Atkinson is deft at handling several complex storylines and, as only some of the characters' stories end up overlapping (at least as far as they know), I appreciated the realism of some events being known by only the reader. I also en Definitely a page-turner! And one that relies not on plot alone, but on character development much more, which makes it my kind of page-turner. I truly didn't ever want to put it down. I ended up feeling that I knew these people and missed them when I was finished. Atkinson is deft at handling several complex storylines and, as only some of the characters' stories end up overlapping (at least as far as they know), I appreciated the realism of some events being known by only the reader. I also enjoyed both her sly, ironic humor and her sensitive (but not maudlin) compassion concerning all the 'lost girls'. And while my picky brain noticed a colloquialism (used twice) that bothers me ('try and', instead of 'try to', though I know I'm being very picky as the book is written in a colloquial style) and an editing mistake of 'waiver' instead of 'waver' (Anybody want to hire me as a proofreader? Seriously, I don't try to find these things, they just pop out at me.), this book was an extremely satisfying read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: Rosemary married their father Victor when she was eighteen years old - only five years older than Sylvia was now. The idea that Sylvia might be grown up enough in five years time to marry anyone struck Rosemary as ridiculous and reinforced her belief that her own parents should have stepped in and stopped her marrying Victor, should have pointed out that she was a mere child and he was a thirty-six year old man. She often found herself wanting to remonstrate with her mother and father a EXCERPT: Rosemary married their father Victor when she was eighteen years old - only five years older than Sylvia was now. The idea that Sylvia might be grown up enough in five years time to marry anyone struck Rosemary as ridiculous and reinforced her belief that her own parents should have stepped in and stopped her marrying Victor, should have pointed out that she was a mere child and he was a thirty-six year old man. She often found herself wanting to remonstrate with her mother and father about their lack of parental care, but her mother had succumbed to stomach cancer not long after Amelia was born, and her father had remarried and moved to Ipswich, where he spent most of his days in the bookies, and all of his evenings in the pub. If, in five years time, Sylvia brought home a thirty-six year old cradle snatching fiance (particularly if he claimed to be a great mathematician) then Rosemary thought she would probably cut his heart out with the carving knife. This thought was so agreeable that the afterthought's annunciation was temporarily forgotten and Rosemary allowed them all to run out to the ice-cream van when it declared its own melodic arrival in the street. ABOUT THIS BOOK: The first book in Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brodie Mysteries series, called "The best mystery of the decade" by Stephen King, finds private investigator Jackson Brodie following three seemingly unconnected family mysteries in Edinburgh Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night. Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack. Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape. Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . . MY THOUGHTS: If I remember rightly, Case Histories was my first introduction to both Kate Atkinson and Jackson Brodie, and the start of an ongoing love affair with both. Atkinson has the ability to see into the dark corners of our minds, to take those unvoiced thoughts, those petty resentments and jealousies, and to craft great stories from them. She is a storyteller. And Jackson Brodie? Originally from Yorkshire, he is a private investigator who makes his money investigating infidelities and finding missing cats. Although he presents a tough guy exterior, he has a warm and compassionate heart. He can never resist coming to the rescue of the lost and lonely, and so attracts the bereaved and the dysfunctional. "Jackson had never felt at home in Cambridge, never felt at home in the south of England if it came to that. He had come here more or less by accident, following a girlfriend and staying for a wife. For years he had thought about moving back north, but he knew he never would. There was nothing there for him, just bad memories and a past he could never undo, and what was the point anyway when France was laid out on the other side of the Channel like an exotic patchwork of sunflowers and grapevines and little cafes where he could sit all afternoon drinking local wine and bitter espressos and smoking Gitanes, where everyone would say, Bonjour, Jackson, except they would pronounce it 'zhaksong', and he would be happy. Which was exactly the opposite of how he felt now." If you have not yet sampled the writing of Kate Atkinson, this is an excellent place to start. 2018: I have read this book multiple times and now,editing this review for republication, I can feel another Atkinson/Brodie marathon coming on. We are moving into our new home in October where I will be able to unpack all my treasured books that are currently packed into boxes in storage, and I will be greeting my Jackson Brodie series like the long lost old friend it is, and once more immersing myself in his world. THE AUTHOR: Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since. She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories, and One Good Turn. Case Histories introduced her readers to Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, and won the Saltire Book of the Year Award and the Prix Westminster. When Will There Be Good News? was voted Richard & Judy Book Best Read of the Year. After Case Histories and One Good Turn, it was her third novel to feature the former private detective Jackson Brodie, who makes a welcome return in Started Early, Took My Dog. DISCLOSURE: I own my copy of Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This book falls under 2 genres - mystery and family drama - and I would argue that it is much more than the sum of its parts. Every character was incredibly real, incredibly flawed, and incredibly complex. Having said that, Case Histories feels like a light read because of Atkinson's great wit. Atkinson has a talent for weaving together 3 seemingly unrelated stories, all with themes loss, innocence, and healing. While many of the characters are female, the central character is Jackson Brodie, a This book falls under 2 genres - mystery and family drama - and I would argue that it is much more than the sum of its parts. Every character was incredibly real, incredibly flawed, and incredibly complex. Having said that, Case Histories feels like a light read because of Atkinson's great wit. Atkinson has a talent for weaving together 3 seemingly unrelated stories, all with themes loss, innocence, and healing. While many of the characters are female, the central character is Jackson Brodie, a private detective working on 3 major cases. My favorite thing about this book was Atkinson's attention to detail. Oftentimes, you can spot 'foreshadowing' too easily because it's done without subtlety. But in Case Histories, it wasn't until I finished the novel that I realized that the tiniest nuances were actually meaningful symbols. Great writing, great characters, great stories - READ THIS BOOK!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Pearl Ruled: CASE HISTORIES by KATE ATKINSON Rating: 2* of five (p102) First of the hugely popular Jackson Brodie series of mysteries set in Scotland, this book comes super-positively blurbed by Stephen King, recommended by site royalty, and could not possibly have left me more flat, uninterested, and even impatient. "The rain's easing off," he said, and Caroline said, "Yes, I think it is." He stood up and escorted her outside. The dogs had been asleep and now made a great performance of welcoming Pearl Ruled: CASE HISTORIES by KATE ATKINSON Rating: 2* of five (p102) First of the hugely popular Jackson Brodie series of mysteries set in Scotland, this book comes super-positively blurbed by Stephen King, recommended by site royalty, and could not possibly have left me more flat, uninterested, and even impatient. "The rain's easing off," he said, and Caroline said, "Yes, I think it is." He stood up and escorted her outside. The dogs had been asleep and now made a great performance of welcoming Caroline's appearance, although she knew they couldn't care less really. "Good-bye, then," John Burton said and shook her hand again. She felt a little flutter, something long dormant coming back to life. He climbed on his bike and cycled off,turning once to wave, an action that made him wobble ridiculously. She stood and watched him moving away from her, ignoring the overexcited dogs. She was in love. Just like that. How totally, utterly insane. And that, laddies and gentlewomen, is where I said sayonara cookie monster. It's okay writing. The rubbish about the dogs is ridiculous, but the wave, the wobble, and the swoon are pretty good. But this is as good as it's gotten in 102pp. This is as much a wowee toledo as Uncle Pervy here has received. Your story or your storytelling has to wow me more than this by p102, and as neither has, onto the scrap-heap of history with you. *briskly dusts hands*

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    To be honest, I thought this book was a bit of a mess. The subject matter was often compelling and I deeply appreciated her focus mostly on character rather than plot (which was an especially good choice not only because it played to Atkinson's strengths in psychological drama, but because was pretty easy to guess the resolution of each plot not long after it appeared). She does fairly convincing atmosphere, too. And she definitely committed to her unlikeable characters until the end. But it's on To be honest, I thought this book was a bit of a mess. The subject matter was often compelling and I deeply appreciated her focus mostly on character rather than plot (which was an especially good choice not only because it played to Atkinson's strengths in psychological drama, but because was pretty easy to guess the resolution of each plot not long after it appeared). She does fairly convincing atmosphere, too. And she definitely committed to her unlikeable characters until the end. But it's only worth it to go unlikeable if you also make your characters believable at the same time- why do it if you're not trying to capture pyschological realism, the sort that people flinch away from acknowledging, but actually indulge in every day of their lives? But at least two of the characters felt incredibly dated (a fact that's constantly commented on by Brodie, which doesn't help) in an out-of-place way (that did not make it charming). Brodie himself was a bit off-putting at times. I know he's an homage character, but you have to find a way to make that work in the 21st century that makes me want to say "charmingly old fashioned" rather than " judgmental throwback asshole". Relationships seem to also just sort of... happen to these characters for no particularly good reason. They are not built, they're just dropped onto the page whenever convenient for the scene Atkinson wants to write. That all said, you can see the potential here. You can see if Atkinson just pushed things a little farther, let herself stare longer into the abyss rather than drawing back in horror, if she just edited for a little more consistency in character, and far fewer hints about plot that we don't need... it could be even more compelling. She's got the right idea and the right raw materials in the mix here. Which is why I bought the second novel and will be reading it soon. I have faith that she'll get it together. The woman who wrote Life After Life can do better, and I believe she will.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bill Khaemba

    “She should have done science, not spent all her time with her head in novels. Novels gave you a completely false idea about life, they told lies and they implied there were endings when in reality there were no endings, everything just went on and on and on.” I have been in a reading slump but this book was exactly what I needed… I wanted a cool crime novel; I got that and something very different... I enjoyed this book immensely; I had the 4th book in the series in hardcover so I decided to g “She should have done science, not spent all her time with her head in novels. Novels gave you a completely false idea about life, they told lies and they implied there were endings when in reality there were no endings, everything just went on and on and on.” I have been in a reading slump but this book was exactly what I needed… I wanted a cool crime novel; I got that and something very different... I enjoyed this book immensely; I had the 4th book in the series in hardcover so I decided to get the other three on ebook and was it worth it! The way the story was everywhere and still connected was just beautiful. *Kate Atkinson* managed to have a very cool, dark comical style which just blended well, her characters were fleshed out and sort of morphed into real people. I loved the characterization this how crime writers should write their characters. The plot progressed slowly but the characters were spot on... Two missing persons and a murder are being investigated by the retired officer Jackson Brodie, a private investigator who is dealing with his own issues. Honestly I would recommend this it was freaking amazing and I can’t wait for the other books

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    This is the second of Atkinson's Jackson Brodie mystery novels I've read. I've previously enjoyed One Good Turn. To briefly summarize what others have already mentioned, in this novel, Brodie takes on three cold cases and deals with a variety of individuals who vary from eccentric to criminal, from engaging to seemingly insane. Their stories, and the stories of the old crimes, are set up carefully and with wonderful detail, wending their ways back and forth through the book. We see the story thr This is the second of Atkinson's Jackson Brodie mystery novels I've read. I've previously enjoyed One Good Turn. To briefly summarize what others have already mentioned, in this novel, Brodie takes on three cold cases and deals with a variety of individuals who vary from eccentric to criminal, from engaging to seemingly insane. Their stories, and the stories of the old crimes, are set up carefully and with wonderful detail, wending their ways back and forth through the book. We see the story through multiple viewpoints, with Jackson being the center point and ultimately a sort of slightly flawed moral compass. I am amazed at what Atkinson has accomplished with this book, keeping all these stories alive and bouncing in the air with multiple narrators along side the central narrator. And doing this, she keeps the reader not only engaged but anxious to know what is going to happen next and to whom. And why? And what happened 34 years ago? or 10? And the other thing I found....I really cared what happened to all of them, including to Jackson. Oh---and I will continue reading this series. Probably a 4.5. Part of me wonders if it's a 5. Recommended for anyone who would like to read a literate mystery.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I really liked this. It's not your conventional detective mystery; despite a missing toddler and two murders, its emphasis is on the characters rather than the crimes. Detective Jackson Brodie is dealing with his own emotional baggage, as are the various family members of the three cold cases he's investigating. The result is tragic, quirky, confusing, surprising, frustrating, compelling. I read it in two sittings, such is its complex pull. Recommended if you like something a little different.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    In Case Histories, Kate Atkinson gives us a detective story unlike any other I’ve read. Normally, in detective novels, the reader sees things through the eyes of the detective, who is usually the main or only protagonist, and tries to solve the case alongside him or her. This classic ‘who done it’ formula is a lot of fun for fans of the detective genre (like me) but it’s not one Atkinson chooses to use. In this novel, Jackson Brodie (ex-army, ex-police, ex-husband, current private detective and f In Case Histories, Kate Atkinson gives us a detective story unlike any other I’ve read. Normally, in detective novels, the reader sees things through the eyes of the detective, who is usually the main or only protagonist, and tries to solve the case alongside him or her. This classic ‘who done it’ formula is a lot of fun for fans of the detective genre (like me) but it’s not one Atkinson chooses to use. In this novel, Jackson Brodie (ex-army, ex-police, ex-husband, current private detective and father) has three cold cases to solve. The first is that of a young girl who went missing in the middle of the night three decades ago. The second is the ten-year-old murder of a promising university graduate. The third is the case of the young housewife who murdered her husband with an axe twenty five years ago. Normally, the friends and relatives of the murder victim serve in the role of suspect or supporting character. We see their point of view only through the eyes of the detective. However, in Case Histories, we meet these characters long before we meet the detective and we continue to walk in their shoes for the entire length of the book. These characters are as much the protagonists of this story as the detective. We see much more of their lives than we normally would in a detective novel and, in this way, the book becomes less about solving the crimes (although that is dealt with, obviously) and more about how to keep living after the loss of a loved one shatters your existence into pieces. The story isn’t told in a linear fashion; the timeline jumps about a fair bit, filling in missing pieces of the plot as it goes. While this is undeniably clever, I actually found this narrative technique to be disruptive in places, as it pulled me out of the story and reminded me I was reading a book rather than living these events with the characters. It’s not a perfect book; in addition to the previously mentioned disruptive effect of the jumbled timeline I also found some of the mysteries of the various storylines to be more than a little obvious. This wasn’t helped by a section where the detective muses over the ages of the missing individuals and the ages of the people who have recently entered his life via these investigations. It’s too easy to match these ages up and work out who is who, despite their changes of identity, and it’s a little painful that the detective doesn’t immediately come to the same conclusions. Apart from this, I enjoyed this book. Atkinson’s prose is excellent and her dialogue feels natural. Each character has a distinctive voice; as the plot jumps around in time and location you still know which character you’re reading about before they are mentioned by name. The characters all feel like real people; they all have flaws as well as virtues and you never feel you’re reading about an idealised or simplified version of them. While the book may not have been as good as I’d hoped it certainly wasn’t enough of a disappointment for me not to continue with the series. Plus I bought all four books together, so I’ll be reading them all no matter what.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diane Challenor

    Amazingly good. I didn't want to put it down and I didn't, until I finished the book, 48 hours after beginning, Phew! I'm not a fast reader but I found this a real page turner. It isn't a thriller, but it's a fantastic mystery. I read it and listened to it. The narrator of the audiobook was excellent. It won't be long before I read the next one in the series. I just have to catch my breath first.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    I'm only giving this book two stars, but it's really better than that. It's just not what I expected, I guess. Case Histories focuses on a set of fictional "cold cases" in England. The characters all end up interacting in various ways with Jackson Brodie, a private detective hired to look into the cases for various reasons. The stories are interesting and compelling, and the characters are okay, but a bit stereotyped. The problem I had with the book is that it's a mystery novel, in essence, but t I'm only giving this book two stars, but it's really better than that. It's just not what I expected, I guess. Case Histories focuses on a set of fictional "cold cases" in England. The characters all end up interacting in various ways with Jackson Brodie, a private detective hired to look into the cases for various reasons. The stories are interesting and compelling, and the characters are okay, but a bit stereotyped. The problem I had with the book is that it's a mystery novel, in essence, but the author never lets you, the reader, figure out the mysteries for yourself. There are one or two things that you could figure out, but by and large, the cases themselves hinge on evidence not presented to the reader until the detective has already figured it out. I found that to be annoying enough to drop my rating.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Joyner

    The sweet youngest daughter in the family goes missing one hot summer night. A lawyer's teenage daughter is killed in a senseless act of violence at his workplace. A mother goes crazy after the birth of her daughter and goes to jail for killing her husband. What do these three cases have in common? They have all landed on the desk of private investigator Jackson Brodie. Brodie's got problems of his own. His wife has remarried, his precocious daughter is dressing way beyond her years, and the str The sweet youngest daughter in the family goes missing one hot summer night. A lawyer's teenage daughter is killed in a senseless act of violence at his workplace. A mother goes crazy after the birth of her daughter and goes to jail for killing her husband. What do these three cases have in common? They have all landed on the desk of private investigator Jackson Brodie. Brodie's got problems of his own. His wife has remarried, his precocious daughter is dressing way beyond her years, and the strange cat lady keeps calling. But all the cases are converging and Brodie keeps finding out things the original investigators missed, and now someone wants to end his life too. Funny, strange, and very personal, Atkinson shines light in the dark and funny spaces in her characters' heads.

  19. 5 out of 5

    MaryG2E

    This 2004 story is set in Cambridge, England and concerns the mysteries surrounding three cold cases. In 1970, three year old Olivia Land disappeared overnight from the family garden and was missing, presumed dead. In 1994 a stranger wearing a yellow golf jersey walked into the offices of a firm of solicitors and stabbed to death a young office worker, Laura Wyre, but was never apprehended. Both cases remain unsolved. In a third case from 1979, the murderer was convicted - 18 year old Michelle F This 2004 story is set in Cambridge, England and concerns the mysteries surrounding three cold cases. In 1970, three year old Olivia Land disappeared overnight from the family garden and was missing, presumed dead. In 1994 a stranger wearing a yellow golf jersey walked into the offices of a firm of solicitors and stabbed to death a young office worker, Laura Wyre, but was never apprehended. Both cases remain unsolved. In a third case from 1979, the murderer was convicted - 18 year old Michelle Fletcher had hacked to death her husband, but what had happened to her infant daughter after being put into the care of her grandparents? The thread that holds these three disparate cases together is 45 year old Jackson Brodie, private investigator, and former police detective. Jackson’s life is unsettled - his business is struggling, his ex-wife is filing for divorce, access to his 8 year old daughter Marlee is problematic, and he has a nasty dental infection. To top it all off, an eccentric old lady, Mrs Binky Rain, keeps bugging him to find out who is stealing her pussycats. Close relatives of the victims separately hire Jackson to solve the riddles of these cold cases. We are introduced to the fractious sisters, Amelia and Julia Land, to obsessed father, Theo Wyre, and to self-controlled Shirley Morrison, sister of Michelle, and aunt of the missing Tanya. In a short space of time, Jackson’s languishing business has turned around, and he is dashing from one case to another, losing sleep and getting hurt along the way. Inevitably the investigations converge, in interesting and unexpected ways. From the first paragraph I was completely engaged by Kate Atkinson’s novel. She has an easy writing style, which is accessible yet polished at the same time. She maintains a fine balance between the bleak and the humorous, and the small comic elements that she injects into the narrative provide light relief. Her portrayal of the Land sisters, with their widely divergent personalities, sometimes verges towards the farcical, but she manages to rein in any excessive absurdity. The main reason why I enjoyed this mystery novel so much is that Atkinson is generous in doling out clues to what might have happened in the past. I love a detective story that allows me to make my own guesses about events. For that I need hints, clues and details. Even if my suspicions turn out to be wrong, I feel happy that I have been drawn into taking a punt, and solving the riddles gives me a great sense of satisfaction. For example, I was well chuffed when I realised I had got the Michelle storyline right, but was amused that I had not got the fine details in their correct order. And I laughed out loud when the Binky Rain storyline was eventually resolved. However, this book is not light and frothy. It concerns brutal deeds by desperate people. There are some very dark passages about grim topics like loneliness and despair, social isolation, mental illness, child sex abuse and emotional neglect. The cruelty and insensitivity of partners within marriage is a recurring theme. Overall, this is an intensely interesting book, full of good and bad, light and dark, funny and sad. It certainly held my attention to the very end. My only criticism is that there are so many story lines going, sometimes I got a little confused for a few pages. But the resolution of the cold cases was so worth while, I could overlook those minor annoyances.

  20. 4 out of 5

    An Odd1

    Hodge-podge jumbles sad incoherent unpleasant British murders and warped porn glimpses into a dark vision of humanity. The least hint of warmth, love, is buried, more by atrocities of average citizens gone wrong than extreme villainy, like Holocaust butcher next-door. I lasted for some of the exposition, then skipped to find closure. Chapters jump from 1970s to 1990s, then names, tangle people, then unravel mysteries. At the start, cute sweet toddler disappears from own back yard, stranger slice Hodge-podge jumbles sad incoherent unpleasant British murders and warped porn glimpses into a dark vision of humanity. The least hint of warmth, love, is buried, more by atrocities of average citizens gone wrong than extreme villainy, like Holocaust butcher next-door. I lasted for some of the exposition, then skipped to find closure. Chapters jump from 1970s to 1990s, then names, tangle people, then unravel mysteries. At the start, cute sweet toddler disappears from own back yard, stranger slices pretty motherless teen's neck, and frustrated new mother snaps, axe to her husband's noggin. At the end, solutions surface, somersault and resurrect. (view spoiler)[ For example, we learn the vanished girl's abusive father buried her, then see her slightly older sister, who had fits and heard God, smother her trying to silence her, then asked their sire to take care of the body. As a conclusion, an investigator retires happily to France with his girlfriend, who says "C'est la vie." Right. (hide spoiler)] BBC drama supposed to be based on book, hope improvement. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EdVvxg... Case Histories trailer

  21. 4 out of 5

    Arielle Walker

    Gahhh, what a mess. The three "case histories" are "connected" by complete coincidence, and only the tiniest possible amount, the characters are complete caricatures and the entire plot was contrived and overblown. I've heard a lot about Kate Atkinson, most of it amazing, but this does not tempt me to read any more of her books... Though it could be worse, I suppose. At least she can string a coherent sentence together. NOTE: I have since read Life After Life and it is worlds away from this mess. Gahhh, what a mess. The three "case histories" are "connected" by complete coincidence, and only the tiniest possible amount, the characters are complete caricatures and the entire plot was contrived and overblown. I've heard a lot about Kate Atkinson, most of it amazing, but this does not tempt me to read any more of her books... Though it could be worse, I suppose. At least she can string a coherent sentence together. NOTE: I have since read Life After Life and it is worlds away from this mess. Her writing there is wry and delicate, the story strung together with warmth and ease and I actually can't believe the same author wrote this book. Still, I'm glad I didn't give up on her completely - I suppose A God in Ruins is next!

  22. 5 out of 5

    David Carr

    When I read Life After Life a few weeks ago, I so fully admired its craft that Kate Atkinson led me to use a new set of critical questions as I leapt through the chapters. What is she (Atkinson) doing in this uncommon sequence, and its disdain for expected sequences? Where is she taking me in this unexpected narrative? How could this novel have evolved in this graceful and yet angular way? Its parts seemed folded over each other, not assembled in any usual, contiguous structure, like origami app When I read Life After Life a few weeks ago, I so fully admired its craft that Kate Atkinson led me to use a new set of critical questions as I leapt through the chapters. What is she (Atkinson) doing in this uncommon sequence, and its disdain for expected sequences? Where is she taking me in this unexpected narrative? How could this novel have evolved in this graceful and yet angular way? Its parts seemed folded over each other, not assembled in any usual, contiguous structure, like origami applied to narrative, but not with experimental arrogance. Think of the square folded paper toys you once made out of notebook paper, with ominous fortunes written inside. Or something like that. Case Histories, an earlier novel, is ostensibly about crimes, but they too are folded unpredictably together with improbable coherence. And that became a criterion for my reading: Against what odds, I asked myself, am I thinking with Kate Atkinson here, and following the remarkable flow of the cards she is dealing me? Then I remembered another fresh novel that recently led me toward this new sort of collaboration with an unconventional narrative: The Orphan-Master's Son. Perhaps I am becoming a better and more patient reader, or I am discovering more complexity and more illusions of insight as I progress. Or maybe I simply have come upon three books that have led me to the edges of awe. Two of them by the same writer, however, tells me there is no accident in this experience.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Great book, absolutely enthralling mystery read... Three intertwined stories which involve a disappearance, a death, and another disappearance, and though it seems at first that the three aren't 'related' to one another... Well, they are! And it's up to Jackson Brodie, a somewhat reluctant, slightly-jaded PI, who was in the police force (so he has 'contacts' here and there, always helpful in a book of this type), to figure out what's up. The writing is clever, but never so over-the-top that the re Great book, absolutely enthralling mystery read... Three intertwined stories which involve a disappearance, a death, and another disappearance, and though it seems at first that the three aren't 'related' to one another... Well, they are! And it's up to Jackson Brodie, a somewhat reluctant, slightly-jaded PI, who was in the police force (so he has 'contacts' here and there, always helpful in a book of this type), to figure out what's up. The writing is clever, but never so over-the-top that the reader is rolling his/her eyes. (Well, I didn't.) I don't usually like 'snarky' writing, as in, 'see how smart I am, oh reader?' But this is clever, as in it fits the voice, or personality using it. It's dour in places, snappy in others, surprising at times, too. As Jackson investigates what happened to little Olive (who disappeared years ago), and who killed Laura (ten years ago), and where Tanya is (whose mother killed her father), he also gets involved in the lives of his clients. It's tricky writing, as I've mentioned in other reviews; the writer probably needed an entire bulletin board of notes and string and push-pins or tacks to hold it altogether. (Or an entire fistful of index cards!) It's complex, yet straightforward in that the reader never gets lost. Then why four stars and not five? There are contrivances and coincidences here and there which didn't seem all that 'real' to me. Also, the cases sort of overlap and how lucky is Mr. Brodie to be working on one case which is connected to another? (Also, each separate 'situation' could have been a separate book, which if this makes it to TV-land, might have to be the case. Except for binge-watchers of TV shows, this story would be very hard to follow, and yet the 'overlap' would be lost if each were presented separately, so...) However, this is a fantastic read nonetheless.

  24. 5 out of 5

    unknown

    If Goodreads ever implements a half-star system, this one gets bumped up. I liked it quite a bit, and I'm not usually much one for mysteries and thrillers. But it's a mystery/thriller in only the loosest terms; Atkinson obviously prefers to focus on her characters first. That's not to say the plot is an afterthought -- it manages to weave together three or four stories of tragic death over the course of several decades, and does it rather well, even if, in the end, the answers aren't wholly sati If Goodreads ever implements a half-star system, this one gets bumped up. I liked it quite a bit, and I'm not usually much one for mysteries and thrillers. But it's a mystery/thriller in only the loosest terms; Atkinson obviously prefers to focus on her characters first. That's not to say the plot is an afterthought -- it manages to weave together three or four stories of tragic death over the course of several decades, and does it rather well, even if, in the end, the answers aren't wholly satisfying. It is, most surprisingly, a very funny book (very British), with likeable and amusing characters, but Atkinson seems a bit nervous about backgrounding the mystery angle to the point where she decides to put in another layer of confusion by mucking about with time. Now, mind you, this is already a book in which the detective, Jackson Brodie, is looking into three cold cases from the 1970s, '80s and '90s, cases we are introduced to with chapters set in those time periods. Then we explore "present day" via alternating chapters from the limited POV of Brodie and various characters involved in each cold case. With so many time frames and characters, it was already confusing enough. But the chronology is all funny, so we'll see one character reacting to Jackson looking all beat up, only to see how he got beat up 20 pages later. Toward the end, it gets even worse, breaking up the order of events even within a single chapter/POV. Rather than adding to the fun, this aspect made the book a little hard to read, which is probably why it took me a lot longer than a short book like this usually would.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Britany

    Jackson Brodie, our Detective protagonist, is hired to solve the mysteries surrounding 3 case histories. We meet many characters, most of which I absolutely LOVED. Kate Atkinson does a fabulous job developing these characters, flaws and all. While most of the cases do get resolved by the end, there is one that is left un-resolved, hoping that she brings this back up in a future book, since this is a series. Loved the banter between Amelia and Julia, sisters torn apart by little Olivia, the sister Jackson Brodie, our Detective protagonist, is hired to solve the mysteries surrounding 3 case histories. We meet many characters, most of which I absolutely LOVED. Kate Atkinson does a fabulous job developing these characters, flaws and all. While most of the cases do get resolved by the end, there is one that is left un-resolved, hoping that she brings this back up in a future book, since this is a series. Loved the banter between Amelia and Julia, sisters torn apart by little Olivia, the sister that vanished into the night when she was just a little girl. Crazy cat lady Binky Rain continues to haunt the reader, and Laura Wyre's tragic demise is heartbreaking, but it is her realtionship with Theo, her ravaged father that torn my heart apart the most.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lyn Elliott

    An unlikely mix of nasty murders, sexual abuse and wild black humour that reminded me a little of Fay Weldon.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julie Christine

    Third read of this and it gets better each time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    It's a little startling to see (hear, since it's an audio book) bits of myself popping up all over this book. I bear a strong resemblance in a lot of ways to one character; another has a lot in common with me as well, though not in quite as "this is ridiculous" a way. I found myself finishing sentences in unison with the narrator – not because the writing was predictable, but because it was the way I would have written it. There's even a character whose husband gives her the nickname Caro, which It's a little startling to see (hear, since it's an audio book) bits of myself popping up all over this book. I bear a strong resemblance in a lot of ways to one character; another has a lot in common with me as well, though not in quite as "this is ridiculous" a way. I found myself finishing sentences in unison with the narrator – not because the writing was predictable, but because it was the way I would have written it. There's even a character whose husband gives her the nickname Caro, which is a name I use in one of my seedling novels. And more. The coincidences seemed to pile up. I've loved the Case Histories tv series since the first time I came across them. I really, really love Jason Isaacs (and really, really wanted him to play Black Jack Randall, because he would have been magnificent). So I was both looking forward to this … and a little afraid of it, because you know a good tv series doesn't necessarily mean a good book, and vice versa. So I was very happy when the from the first disc this book engaged me, made me laugh, made me feel sympathy for the characters – and made me really, really love (or at least root for) Jackson Brodie. The author is skilled at keeping her cards close to her chest. Near the end of one disc, while driving his daughter Marley home, Jackson gets a frantic call from one of his clients. The next scene sees him arriving at his ex-wife's fiance's house, and Marley mentions something that happened in a chapter just described, and then drops a reference to something not described, but the scene rushes on leaving just a smoky question mark in the air about that odd remark. But then comes a scene with the person who made the hysterical call, and … what happened? No way to know. It takes a little while before the scene which made me say "Ohhhhhhh…" – and while this might drive me up a wall with some books, I have to admire Kate Atkinson's skills. I love that the book is about the fantasies all of us build in our minds about everyone in our lives, be it the thin homeless girl on the street corner that we see every now and then, or co-workers, or parents, or spouses. No one can know even a fraction of what's really going on in anyone else's head at any given time, not for sure and certain. It's kind of a wonder that we're able to communicate at all… A kind of a throwaway line that struck me was, about people seen on a riverbank by someone in a boat, "And then they were gone, beyond a bend in the river, vanishing like a dream." And that's how so many people are to one another in this book. The women who hire Jackson to look for the little sister who disappeared over thirty years ago – will they continue to feature in his life once the mystery is solved and the book ends? Who knows? Will Jackson's daughter Marley become one of the figures who disappears beyond a riverbend? Well, that one I do know the answer to, having seen several of the films, but at this point anything could happen. The weaving together of the "case histories" of the title, the cases on which Jackson is engaged and the account of his own story past and present, is intricate and beautiful. Atkinson is a storyteller who requires patience from the reader. As mentioned before, there is no instant gratification to be found here – but the gratification, the satisfaction of the story well-told is deep. I also loved the narrator, Susan Jameson; within the space of one commute she became a follow-anywhere voice. There were choices made throughout that took the book from a good read (listen) to an immersive, utterly believable experience. I loved this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    lana

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I didn't really know what to expect from this (I picked it up because it was recommended and I'd read the sample chapter via kindle) and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a quick read, and though it could be difficult to keep characters straight (flipping back to check a name or plot point is hard on a kindle) it was entertaining and I liked the characters. I thought they were sketched with empathy and detail, and they managed to feel quite real despite the ludicrous connections between them an I didn't really know what to expect from this (I picked it up because it was recommended and I'd read the sample chapter via kindle) and I was pleasantly surprised. It was a quick read, and though it could be difficult to keep characters straight (flipping back to check a name or plot point is hard on a kindle) it was entertaining and I liked the characters. I thought they were sketched with empathy and detail, and they managed to feel quite real despite the ludicrous connections between them and the sometimes ridiculous plot twists. The writing can be quite wry and witty and I appreciated that. To recap: Jackson, a former policeman and current private detective, has a private life that is falling apart. His relationship with his wife is contentious and raising their daughter together is proving to be a challenge, as he doesn't much care for his ex's new beau. He is called upon to work on several cases that prove to be intertwined: An old woman (Binky) thinks someone is stealing her cats. A pair of sisters (Julia and Amelia) ask him to find out what happened to their missing younger sister (Olivia). A man (Theo) asks him to find the killer of his daughter (Laura). A woman (Shirley) asks him to find her sister's (Michelle's) child (Tanya)- telling him that Michelle murdered her husband, went to prison, and then vanished upon her release. The cases (except for the cats) are all quite old (ten years at least), and while they have individual solutions, in the solving the character's lives are all mixed up together. In the midst of this, someone is trying to kill Jackson. The answers to the mysteries: No one was stealing the cats. Olivia was killed by her oldest sister, Sylvia, and the crime was hidden by their father, Victor. Laura was killed by a stalker whose advances she had rejected. Shirley is actually the murderer of Michelle's husband, and she does not reveal this to Jackson. His sense of her deception forces him to drop the case, and although Tanya is identified (as Lily-Rose), it is only to the reader- she ends up living with Theo. The person attempting to kill Jackson is Quintus, Binky's only remaining blood relative. Quintus discovers that Binky has left her considerable wealth to Jackson in her will and wants to prevent him from collecting, but she dies before he manages to finish the job, and Jackson finds himself unexpectedly extremely wealthy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    LJ

    CASE HISTORIES (PI-Jackson Brodie-England-Cont) – VG Atkinson, Kate – 1st in series Doubleday, 2004, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 0385607997 First Sentence: How lucky were they? Ex-cop Jackson Brodie has three cases on which he is working. In 1970, Olivia, the youngest of three sisters disappears after she and another sister spent the night in their backyard tent. Their father has now died. When cleaning out his desk, the two middle sisters find Olivia’s favorite toy. What happened to Olivia? In 1979, an ov CASE HISTORIES (PI-Jackson Brodie-England-Cont) – VG Atkinson, Kate – 1st in series Doubleday, 2004, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 0385607997 First Sentence: How lucky were they? Ex-cop Jackson Brodie has three cases on which he is working. In 1970, Olivia, the youngest of three sisters disappears after she and another sister spent the night in their backyard tent. Their father has now died. When cleaning out his desk, the two middle sisters find Olivia’s favorite toy. What happened to Olivia? In 1979, an overwhelmed wife and mother reaches the breaking point with disastrous results. Her sister wants Jackson to find Tanya, the niece she promised to care for. In 1997, a businessman’s daughter was murdered during her first day of work in her fathers’ author. Who killed her? Along with the three cases, Jackson has his own issues including an ex-wife and Binky Rain, a 90-year-old lady who believes someone is stealing her cats, and accidents that are not accidental. Ms. Atkinson’s book was an absolute delight to read. Think macramé; lots of different colored and textured threads skillfully woven together to create a wonderful end product. It may bother some, but I love her use of parenthetical phrases and her imagery. All the elements are there; humor, pathos, suspense, tragedy, emotion, irony and a small touch of paranormal. Her books are character driven, and a range of characters there is. We get to know them all but particularly Jackson is revealed to us as the story unfolds. There are two sisters who are classic in the way one goads the other with behavior and occasional crass references. In some ways, this isn’t the easiest book to read just from the way it is structured, and it’s not a gripping page-turner in the usual sense. It is, however, a page-turner in that I became so involved with the stories, I had to know what would happen next and resolution to each case. Atkinson has an unusual and compelling style that is wry, slightly noir and absolutely wonderful.

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