Case Histories

by Kate Atkinson | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0552772437 Global Overview for this book
Registered by BookGroupMan of Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on 4/10/2006
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BookGroupMan from Criccieth, Wales United Kingdom on Monday, April 10, 2006
(wrong cover)

Another wishlist self-find...at a brand new Oxfam bookshop in Bloomsbury St, found while taking my daughter to show rehearsals around the corner, at the Shaftesbury Theater dontcha know!

(28/08) Finished - review to follow

From the Blurb, ‘An astonishingly complex and literary detective story…’

This is Kate Atkinson’s first (but not last) foray into the crime/thriller genre, and very good it is too. I liked the stereotypical dsyfunctional and slightly shabby ‘tec – former DI Jackson Brodie – and loved the complex plot, or do I mean outrageously convoluted and contrived plot! Better still the action was all set in familiar Cambridge surroundings, and she manages to tie up most of the loose ends. Although I like ongoing series such as Morse and Dalziel & Pascoe, and more recent Philip Dryden novels set in Ely, I think it’s refreshing and brave for an author not to leave the prospect of a sequel.

*Summary (yeah right!) including spoilers*

The ‘Case Histories’ of the title are 3 unsolved mysteries from the past which are resurrected for Brodie to investigate at the end of a long hot summer (not 2006, but it could well be); the youngest daughter (Olivia) of depressed Cambridge housewife and her aloof mathematician husband goes missing one night in 1976; Laura Wyre is killed in an apparently random motiveless crime while she was working at her solicitor father Theo’s practise; a young wife suffering from post natal depression(?) hacks her husband to death in the Cambridgeshire fens.

Thread (1) and 30+ years later Olivia’s toy Blue Mouse turns up in her dead father’s effects. Two older sisters, the flirtatious Julia and repressed Amelia, ask Brodie to help. In the end the key lies with the 4th sister (Sister) Silvia who is in a closed order of nuns. This story becomes losely entangled with missing cats and the death of an elderly neighbour!

Thread (2). After a 10-year gap Theo has his own near-death experience and wants to find his daughter’s murderer. This resolution to this is the least satisfactory as it involves the introduction of a shadowy bit-part culprit.

Thread (3) has a slow build up through an alias and a good twist at the end. The case comes to Brodie through Michelle/Caroline’s sister Cheryl who is looking for her runaway niece...a girl who we meet in other circumstances as well.

There is also a 4th Case History which gives some of Brodie’s back story.

So, all in all, to coin a phrase, ‘…astonishly complex…’ but enjoyable :-)

Journal Entry 2 by wingcandy-is-dandywing from Great Bardfield, Essex United Kingdom on Sunday, September 10, 2006
Picked up at the Ipswich BC meet at Cafe Nero. Looking forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 3 by wingcandy-is-dandywing at Braintree, Essex United Kingdom on Saturday, April 28, 2012
I finally got around to reading this and really enjoyed it. I loved all the different threads and the characters were interesting. I had no idea of the plot (thankfully hadn't read, or had forgotten, all the spoilers in the previous entry above ;-p) and was taken by surprise within the first few pages.

Then the book kept taking you off into different characters' stories. It wasn't hard to keep up with the different threads all linked by Jackson Brodie, a cynical, demotivated private detective. I was also pleased to see that not everything was concluded and 'tidied up' by the end - some parts of the story remained a mystery.

I will certainly be reading more by Kate Atkinson. Can you believe this was my first?

Journal Entry 4 by wingcandy-is-dandywing at Bletchley Park in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom on Saturday, April 28, 2012

Released 7 yrs ago (4/28/2012 UTC) at Bletchley Park in Bletchley, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

Somewhere in Bletchley Park while on a visit to this interesting museum

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