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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.
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Critics on the other side of the Atlantic love Atkinson; Behind the Scenes at the Museum won the Whitbread Prize. To Americans delight, Case Histories has made the great leap. The novel is not your typical crime genre fare (that is why we placed it within our literary reviews); its also a series of family sagas with strong moral frameworks. Atkinson delineates each character with great empathy and depth, revealing his or her motivations, flaws, and healing. She sprinkles her trademark postmodern literary references throughout the book, but this time shes toned them down, a sign of maturity. The four alternating points of view and framing device create a somewhat labyrinthine situation, and careful readers may pick up clues before theyre supposed to. Minor flaws, really; Case Histories is that "unisex, hard-to-put-down" kind of book (Chicago Sun-Times).
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
Good but not as good as her later work. Plot was a bit unbelievable which I hate!Published 2 days ago by clare kennedy
This detective story solves three or four murders of beautiful young girls. Read it if you like incest, spouse abuse, severe spouse abuse and other similarly dreary topics. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Lewis P. Wilkinson
The author slowly draws the readers into a dark web of mystery, sorrow and deceit. Yet, the story also illustrate kindness and hope. A very good read with authentic characters.Published 5 days ago by Georgia A. March
Kate Atkinson writes like an angel. The structure of this book was unusual but worked like a charm. I highly recommend it. Read morePublished 12 days ago by Craig Faustus Buck
It was such a pleasure to read a detective novel by a first-rate writer.Published 13 days ago by L. R. Taylor