Monday, 9 February 2009

Book Review: Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Genre: Modern Fiction
Pages: 416
Publisher: Transworld Publishers


Cambridge is sweltering, during an unusually hot summer. To Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, the world consists of one accounting sheet - lost on the left, found on the right - and the two never seem to balance. Jackson has never felt at home in Cambridge, and has a failed marriage to prove it. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, his own life haunted by a family tragedy, he attempts to unravel three disparate case histories and begins to realise that in spite of apparent diversity, everything is connected...

At the beginning of the book the first 3 chapters each describe an event - the first one is of a missing little girl, the second is of a seemingly random murder of a teenage girl and the third is of a wife murdering her husband with an axe. All the events happen in different years.

In the present time, Jackson Brodie is approached by the missing girl's two elder sisters to enlist his help in finding her - the axe murderer's sister also asks Jackson to look for her niece - and the teenage girl's father contacts him to find his daughter's murder.

As the story unfolds we learn of family secrets and of friendships and liaisons in the past and the present. As Jackson attempts to track people down he also realises that someone is trying to kill this all connected to his work?

Who is the random woman we are introduced to in one chapter after another that seems to have no connection with anyone?

Most of the questions are answered and neatly tied up at the end. It all comes together in an interesting and well-written novel.

I do like the way that Kate Atkinson writes her stories......some with humour and tongue in cheek. This is the second book of hers that I've read after Behind the Scenes at the Museum and I look forward to reading more in the future.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good mystery with a few twists and turns.


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