104. ‘Case Histories’ by Kate Atkinson.

HOW have I managed to previously overlook this author, even after reading and reviewing ‘A God in Ruins’ back in 2018…honestly, it’s a burning question! ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ was another one of Mum’s books and I shall review it separately.. because after reading it I immediately lent it to Youngest Daughter. Shortly thereafter though, I spotted this in a charity shop, stopped for a coffee on the way home and started reading it, made the quickest ever beans on Marmite toast for supper when the coffee shop closed and I had to go home, and finished it post haste.

What an extraordinarily moving and brilliantly constructed book this is. I have never read anything like it. (Nor had I read anything like ‘Museum’, but I digress as I so often do).

Jackson Brodie, ex army, ex police, now investigating ‘other people’s tragedies and cock ups and misfortunes’ (whilst studiously avoiding his own), takes on three cold cases. The bones of them are presented in the first three chapters: ‘Family Plot’ – a beloved three year old youngest sister and daughter disappears from the tent she and her sister Amelia are sleeping in in the back garden on a hot summer night. ‘Just A Normal Day’ – a solicitors daughter, working in her father Theo’s office for the summer before going to university has her throat cut by a man in a yellow sweater, apparently randomly, and ‘Everything From Duty, Nothing From Love’ – Michelle, a young wife, a crying baby, an annoying husband, an axe. I can say nothing more without ‘spoiling’. All seemingly unrelated incidents, but the best detective stories always have relationships hitherto unsuspected, don’t they. And how good are those chapter titles!

One outcome I kind of expected. One threw me completely. And one made me cry. I must admit I was not entirely happy with the conclusion of the book as a whole, but I WAS entirely satisfied by the eventual conclusion of the three opening chapters because, lets face it, at the end of the day we all want to know ‘whodunnit’.

I’m giving this book a massive thumbs up. I have only read two of Kate Atkinson’s books but both have been extraordinary – I’m already a massive fan and will be looking for more of her work.

As always, happy to gift this forward anywhere in this wonderful world of lours, so please get in touch either here or on the Facebook or Instagram feeds if you would like to read it. And afterwards, I hope you will gift it forward to another reader. Because books should be being read, not sitting on shelves. Especially ones that are this good!

Becky XXX