Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective -- a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other -- or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.
Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective of novels such as Case Histories, is embarking on a different sort of rescue: that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.
British author Atkinson's magnificently plotted fourth novel featuring Jackson Brodie (after When Will There Be Good News?) takes the "semi-retired" PI back to his Yorkshire hometown to trace the biological parents of Hope McMasters, a woman adopted by a couple in the 1970s at age two. Jackson is faced with more questions than answers when Hope's parents aren't in any database nor is her adoption on record. In the author's signature multilayered style, she shifts between past and present, interweaving the stories of Tracy Waterhouse, a recently retired detective superintendent now in charge of security at a Leeds mall, and aging actress Tilly Squires. On the same day that Jackson and Tilly are in the mall, Tracy makes a snap decision that will have lasting consequences for everyone. Atkinson injects wit even in the bleakest moments such as Jackson's newfound appreciation for poetry, evoked in the Emily Dickinson inspired title yet never loses her razor-sharp edge.
Left early took the dog
Last eight pages missing most if the text. Good up till then
Hard to put down
Is it difficult to write such a complex novel that is so thoroughly enjoyable to read? Perhaps not for Kate Atkinson, but I couldn't help but stop and mutter "wow" as different characters in different timelines slowly converge into a heartbreaking story about the vulnerability of saviors who save the vulnerable. Jackson rescues a dog, a retired police officer rescues a child, a murder destroys some lives while giving others hope. I couldn't put this book down, and I'm quite sure I'll be picking it up again soon for another read.
A real page-turner!
Wonderful book, the author is back to her best!