Last summer I was on a hiking trip in Scotland with 3 friends, all avid readers, all fans of Kate Atkinson’s private investigator Jackson Brodie and all totally shocked that I had never read any of her books. Well, you can bet I rectified that situation as soon as I got home. After the first few pages of Case Histories I was hooked. Nominally these books (there are four) are crime novels set in England and Scotland featuring the “tender curmudgeon and solver of mysteries” Jackson Brody. These are not traditional mysteries–they are stories that feature fully realized and interesting characters, vivid settings and complicated, somewhat meandering (though always compelling) plots. In Atkinson’s skilled hands multiple story lines coalesce into a seamless narrative. She is a wonderful writer and her books offer both marvelous entertainment and insight into the human condition. If you prefer fast-moving mysteries with a linear plot, these are probably not for you. But if you enjoy well-written character-driven fiction, these may be just the ticket. And lest you think I am the only one pushing these books, Oprah recommended the 4th in the series, Started Early Took My Dog in her blog Mysteries Every Thinking Woman Should Read.
I would strongly recommend reading this series in order.
As a bonus, the first two books in the series have been made into BBC series. The library will be ordering Case Histories, currently the only one available in DVD. Some titles are available in downloadable versions and all are available in audiobooks in our collection or through interlibrary loan.
Please let me know if you enjoyed them!