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 Edinburg.
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 . . .
In this ambitious fourth novel from Whitbread winner Atkinson (Behind the Scenes at the Museum), private detective Jackson Brodie ex-cop, ex-husband and weekend dad takes on three cases involving past crimes that occurred in and around London. The first case introduces two middle-aged sisters who, after the death of their vile, distant father, look again into the disappearance of their beloved sister Olivia, last seen at three years old, while they were camping under the stars during an oppressive heat wave. A retired lawyer who lives only on the fumes of possible justice next enlists Jackson's aid in solving the brutal killing of his grown daughter 10 years earlier. In the third dog-eared case file, the sibling of an infamous ax-bludgeoner seeks a reunion with her niece, who as a baby was a witness to murder. Jackson's reluctant persistence heats up these cold cases and by happenstance leads him to reassess his own painful history. The humility of the extraordinary, unabashed characters is skillfully revealed with humor and surprise. Atkinson contrasts the inevitable results of family dysfunction with random fate, gracefully weaving the three stories into a denouement that taps into collective wishful thinking and suggests that warmth and safety may be found in the aftermath of blood and abandonment. Atkinson's meaty, satisfying prose will attract many eager readers.
Case Histories is a great vacation read
Several mysteries (a missing child, a randomly murdered young woman, another woman who continually changes identities) all come together in a mostly satisfying read by a compelling author. I wasn't ready for the end, but maybe I'll find closure in the next book starring private detective Jackson. Can't wait to see what Jackson will be up to then.
Too. Many. Words.
This book would be 1/4 of its length if you cut out all the overly verbose, endlessly running-on sentences.
What a rare and wonderful novel
Great story lines and terrific characters dwell in this novel. Terrible crimes and a dry sense of humor are seamlessly woven together in such a way as to make this novel really worth the trip. A very gifted writer is at the wheel!