Thursday, July 28, 2011

Case Histories

Author: Kate Atkinson

Publication Date: 2004

Category: Crime, Mystery, Family Drama

Who'll want to read it? Mystery lovers seeking a dash or two of literary style.

What's it all about? This is the first book in the "Jackson Brodie mysteries" series. Jackson Brodie is the divorced, (slightly bitter, but dashingly handsome and enigmatic),doting father of an eight year old girl. He is an ex-policeman, now private detective with lots of dull missions - until this book thrusts him into three intriguing investigations. The story revolves around three "case histories" - the disappearance of a three year old girl thirty years ago, the senseless murder of an eighteen year girl (the apple of her father's eye) ten years ago, and an aunt trying to track down her twenty-five year old niece. As Kate Atkinson weaves her tale, subtle links in the cases emerge. All throughout we find hints of the "case history" haunting Jackson's own life and the similar emotional burdens he shares with his clients.

Every character in this book is given their own unique personality, voice and history. Kate Atkinson has a wonderful ear for authentic conversation, making the book even more engaging. I have read three other books by Kate Atkinson and they are all as good as each other. There are four books so far in the Jackson Brodie mysteries, so if you are looking for something to get your teeth into, start with "Case Histories". I already have the next book lined up on my bedside table.

Classic lines: "...Olivia was spun from light...Olivia was the only one she loved, although God knows she tried her best with the others. Everything was from duty, nothing was from love. Duty killed you in the end.

It was very wrong, it was as if the love she should have had for the others had been siphoned off and given to Olivia instead, so that she loved her youngest child with a ferocity that didn't always seem natural. Sometimes she wanted to eat Olivia, to bite into a tender forearm or a soft calf muscle, even to devour her whole like a snake and take her back inside her where she would be safe. She was a terrible mother, there was no doubt about it, but she didn't even have the strength to feel guilty. Olivia caught sight of her and waved." pg36-37

Publisher: Black Swan

News Flash: Just as I was about to finish this post I discovered that the BBC have made a six-part series of the Jackson Brodie mysteries, starring the dashingly handsome (just as well) Jason Isaac.

No comments: