2006, 527 p
I don’t even LIKE crime novels as a rule, but I’ll make an exception for those written by Kate Atkinson. This book follows on from her earlier novel, Case Histories by bringing to us again detective Jackson Brodie, but it’s not at all necessary to have read the first book. In the earlier book, there are three crimes that seem unrelated but become increasingly interwoven. This book is similar to its predecessor in that Jackson is searching desperately for “a tangible connection, not just a coincidence”, but it is more straightforward in that there is just the one crime initially that involves, in different ways, the many characters.
The book is set during the Edinburgh Festival, and the author turns a wry eye on the literary events and art-house performances that are part and parcel of such productions. The crime occurs in the opening pages- always a good start, and in Rashamon-fashion the book moves from character to character in the lead up and fall0ut from the crime. Her characters are full-bodied, and there’s enough romance to pep things up (and enough to induce deep groans in Mr R.Judge, should he ever read it, because he doesn’t like all that “love-stuff” mixed in with his crime stories). Atkinson doesn’t take any of this too seriously, and there’s a cheeky humour that runs through the book.
The plot itself, while convoluted as crime novels tend to be, is easy enough to discern in retrospect, which is just the way I like it. Many’s the time that I’ve watched the credits roll on yet another ABC Friday night crime show, and I’ve twisted myself up on the couch and said “But I don’t get it…who? why?…” and I can barely piece the plot together coherently enough to even formulate a question.
But this is a thouroughly satisfying crime novel, with a laugh or two along the way, several twists in the plot, and I can even tell you what happened!
My rating: 9/10 (I seem to be particularly generous at the moment. Perhaps I need to read a dud or two to get myself back into balance)
Sourced from: The Council of Adult Education
Read because: It is our March book in my face-to-face bookgroup