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Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  47,399 ratings  ·  4,096 reviews
Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night.

Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack.

Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

Thirty years after the first incident, as priv
Paperback, 389 pages
Published October 17th 2005 by Back Bay Books (first published 2004)
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This should actually get two stars only but me and Kate Atkinson go way back. I read her 'Behind the Scenes in the Museum' when I was a newbie to the grown-up literature and I loved it. I am quite afraid to go and revisit it now because after reading 'Case Histories' I am not sure if Atkinson can actually write.

This is some sort of psychological drama/crime story, so you don't expect the writing to knock you of your feet. However, quite often I read that Atkinson writes 'literary crime fiction'
This is one of the best detective novels I have read in a really long time. Set mostly in Cambridge, England, it's the story of a private detective as he tries to solve three cold cases (I mean, REALLY cold - the most recent crime is still 10 years old) as they all interweave and mix in with personal life. In theory, the plot is nothing special; some missing persons and murder cases, and the details are revealed as the story develops, and the detective's personal life is a mess and someone is tr ...more
I'm less enthusiastic about this book than Nikki. I certainly enjoyed the author's wry humor; her characters were both thoroughly imagined and presented with great empathy; and her detective was unique. I also appreciate authors trying to stretch the mystery genre and find ways to alter its railroad-track kind of plotting. All to the good. But her attempt at plot manipulation was confusing at first and eventually just annoying. She told three (or four, depending on how you count) different murde ...more
Definitely a page-turner! And one that relies not on plot alone, but on character development much more, which makes it my kind of page-turner. I truly didn't ever want to put it down.

I ended up feeling that I knew these people and missed them when I was finished. Atkinson is deft at handling several complex storylines and, as only some of the characters' stories end up overlapping (at least as far as they know), I appreciated the realism of some events being known by only the reader. I also en

What a joy it is to not only discover an author I haven't read before, but to read a book which I did not want to put down! That is the effect that this novel had on me. As a long-time reader of crime fiction, it is also a joy to read such a literate and character-driven mystery, which does not fit neatly into any particular crime fiction sub-genre. While crimes are committed and a detective is there to solve them, neither the crimes themselves nor their resolution are what makes the novel live
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways

Rating: 2* of five (p102)

First of the hugely popular Jackson Brodie series of mysteries set in Scotland, this book comes super-positively blurbed by Stephen King, recommended by site royalty, and could not possibly have left me more flat, uninterested, and even impatient.

"The rain's easing off," he said, and Caroline said, "Yes, I think it is." He stood up and escorted her outside. The dogs had been asleep and now made a great performance of welcoming
Sep 25, 2009 Lobstergirl rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: fiction
I really, really disliked this book. I was ready to put it down by page 20, but slogged on. If this was supposed to be a "literary thriller," it failed miserably on both accounts. On top of Atkinson's cliched writing style, there were multitudes of plot strands that were ridiculously and not credibly interwoven; many parents (again, not credibly) indifferent to their children; a toll of murder, death, attempted murder, rape, and sexual abuse that had risen almost too high to count by the end (gr ...more
This book falls under 2 genres - mystery and family drama - and I would argue that it is much more than the sum of its parts. Every character was incredibly real, incredibly flawed, and incredibly complex. Having said that, Case Histories feels like a light read because of Atkinson's great wit.

Atkinson has a talent for weaving together 3 seemingly unrelated stories, all with themes loss, innocence, and healing. While many of the characters are female, the central character is Jackson Brodie, a
I really liked this. It's not your conventional detective mystery; despite a missing toddler and two murders, its emphasis is on the characters rather than the crimes.

Detective Jackson Brodie is dealing with his own emotional baggage, as are the various family members of the three cold cases he's investigating. The result is tragic, quirky, confusing, surprising, frustrating, compelling. I read it in two sittings, such is its complex pull.

Recommended if you like something a little different.
An Odd1
Hodge-podge jumbles sad incoherent unpleasant British murders and warped porn glimpses into a dark vision of humanity. The least hint of warmth, love, is buried, more by atrocities of average citizens gone wrong than extreme villainy, like Holocaust butcher next-door. I lasted for some of the exposition, then skipped to find closure.

Chapters jump from 1970s to 1990s, then names, tangle people, then unravel mysteries. At the start, cute sweet toddler disappears from own back yard, stranger slice
Deborah Joyner
The sweet youngest daughter in the family goes missing one hot summer night. A lawyer's teenage daughter is killed in a senseless act of violence at his workplace. A mother goes crazy after the birth of her daughter and goes to jail for killing her husband. What do these three cases have in common? They have all landed on the desk of private investigator Jackson Brodie. Brodie's got problems of his own. His wife has remarried, his precocious daughter is dressing way beyond her years, and the str ...more
Oct 01, 2011 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery lovers
This is the second of Atkinson's Jackson Brodie mystery novels I've read. I've previously enjoyed One Good Turn. To briefly summarize what others have already mentioned, in this novel, Brodie takes on three cold cases and deals with a variety of individuals who vary from eccentric to criminal, from engaging to seemingly insane. Their stories, and the stories of the old crimes, are set up carefully and with wonderful detail, wending their ways back and forth through the book. We see the story thr ...more
I'm only giving this book two stars, but it's really better than that. It's just not what I expected, I guess.
Case Histories focuses on a set of fictional "cold cases" in England. The characters all end up interacting in various ways with Jackson Brodie, a private detective hired to look into the cases for various reasons. The stories are interesting and compelling, and the characters are okay, but a bit stereotyped. The problem I had with the book is that it's a mystery novel, in essence, but t
Jackson Brodie, our Detective protagonist, is hired to solve the mysteries surrounding 3 case histories. We meet many characters, most of which I absolutely LOVED. Kate Atkinson does a fabulous job developing these characters, flaws and all.

While most of the cases do get resolved by the end, there is one that is left un-resolved, hoping that she brings this back up in a future book, since this is a series.

Loved the banter between Amelia and Julia, sisters torn apart by little Olivia, the sister
If Goodreads ever implements a half-star system, this one gets bumped up. I liked it quite a bit, and I'm not usually much one for mysteries and thrillers. But it's a mystery/thriller in only the loosest terms; Atkinson obviously prefers to focus on her characters first. That's not to say the plot is an afterthought -- it manages to weave together three or four stories of tragic death over the course of several decades, and does it rather well, even if, in the end, the answers aren't wholly sati ...more
This 2004 story is set in Cambridge, England and concerns the mysteries surrounding three cold cases. In 1970, three year old Olivia Land disappeared overnight from the family garden and was missing, presumed dead. In 1994 a stranger wearing a yellow golf jersey walked into the offices of a firm of solicitors and stabbed to death a young office worker, Laura Wyre, but was never apprehended. Both cases remain unsolved. In a third case from 1979, the murderer was convicted - 18 year old Michelle F ...more
I'm so glad the last third of the book held up to expectations and quite made up for the middle third that felt a bit like it was going nowhere (in my opinion)...
After hearing so much about 'Case Histories' I finally decided to buy it and read it, and although I didn't find it spectacularly amazing, it was for the most part very engaging and very uniquely smart. It's not really a mystery novel, or at least not only a mystery. I think it really shows how we're all connected to each other somehow,
Aug 18, 2011 Barbara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Barbara by: CONSTANT READER/ GR
Shelves: mystery

This is my second writing of a review of this engaging novel. The first has vaporized into unknown cyberspace!

It quickly becomes apparent that Case Histories is no ordinary mystery novel. Kate Atkinson has deftly woven the strands of suspense, intolerable and vicious crimes and astute detective work with sensitive tales of individual and family drama.

Briefly, Atkinson has written of Detective Jackson Brodie, who has undertaken the burdensome endeavor of solving three very cold cases. Initial
one quality i dislike about many "mystery" or "detective" stories is how quickly it becomes apparent to me who the perpetrator is and how the plot will play out. this is the second novel i have read recently where i couldn't predict all the twists (another was Tana French's Into the Wood). i can see why so many people talk about Atkinson's attention to detail and delving into the aftereffects of tragic events. for me this book wasn't so much about the crimes themselves, but how people coped with ...more
Diane Challenor
Amazingly good. I didn't want to put it down and I didn't, until I finished the book, 48 hours after beginning, Phew! I'm not a fast reader but I found this a real page turner. It isn't a thriller, but it's a fantastic mystery. I read it and listened to it. The narrator of the audiobook was excellent. It won't be long before I read the next one in the series. I just have to catch my breath first.
I got so tired and confused listening to this that I went on Goodreads to wonder if I was missing something b/c it had such great reviews.

This is some sort of psychological drama/crime story, so you don't expect the writing to knock you off your feet. However, I've read that Atkinson writes 'literary crime fiction' and that is an overstatement at best.

There are constant changes of POV and we are stuck in the characters' heads and informed about their every little thought. I think there are way
CASE HISTORIES (PI-Jackson Brodie-England-Cont) – VG
Atkinson, Kate – 1st in series
Doubleday, 2004, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 0385607997

First Sentence: How lucky were they?

Ex-cop Jackson Brodie has three cases on which he is working. In 1970, Olivia, the youngest of three sisters disappears after she and another sister spent the night in their backyard tent. Their father has now died. When cleaning out his desk, the two middle sisters find Olivia’s favorite toy. What happened to Olivia? In

1979, an ov
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 20, 2015 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: audio
3.5 stars
Three cases for Jackson Brodie, private investigator to solve. The three cases were set out at the beginning and then we're brought to the present for the investigation.
The way the story linked together worked really well - I was a little confused at times but this felt like part of the sleuthing process and was a bit of an extra challenge.
I liked all the characters EXCEPT Jackson - I'm sorry but he was an unconvincing detective (let's all take our 8 year old daughter with us to intervi
Iris  Pereyra
I guess that technically I read this book mostly on 2014 but I finished it this morning so, it's going to be my first 2015 read and that's all there is to it! :)

This is also my first Kate Atkinson book and I enjoyed her style of writing very much.
The book is the 1st in the series by the name Jackson Brodie Mysteries. It's divided in 3 stories:

This is from the book blurb:
Case One: A little girl goes missing in the night.
Case Two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparent
For the first three-quarters of this book, I was like "FIVE STARS, FIVE STARS." Complex detective fiction written by the brilliant author of Life After Life? And there are already four in the series for me to work through?! Finally picking this up and finding the first parts of it to be wonderful was like opening the fridge and realizing there's A WHOLE CAKE THAT YOU COMPLETELY FORGOT ABOUT IN THERE.

But then the cases started fizzling out. Most were somehow connected, in a loose web that relied
David Carr
When I read Life After Life a few weeks ago, I so fully admired its craft that Kate Atkinson led me to use a new set of critical questions as I leapt through the chapters. What is she (Atkinson) doing in this uncommon sequence, and its disdain for expected sequences? Where is she taking me in this unexpected narrative? How could this novel have evolved in this graceful and yet angular way? Its parts seemed folded over each other, not assembled in any usual, contiguous structure, like origami app ...more
This book tried to accomplish way too much; less would have made it more.
Trying to fuse multiple family dramas with a traditional (cliched) detective story, complicated by shifting around in time, between the cases, etc., made it hard to follow and diluted all of the individual elements. The common denominator of the stories was the standard bright but unfortunate PI; mistreated by his ex, taking to smoking (but not excessive drinking), etc. etc. He figures out a couple of the cold cases which h
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Galaviz
Behind the mystery of each of the three Case Histories, the theme that seemed to unite the different groups of characters was “the lost youth of young girls.” Each of the main characters sought answers to the tragic and sudden loss of a young female in his or her life.

Atkinson does a fantastic job illustrating each character through description, nuances of dialogue, and monologue-type trains-of-thought, but I found these parts of the novel to drag on at times. My personal preference would have b
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Really disappointing 35 342 Sep 21, 2015 02:28PM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Case Histories by Kate Atkinson 3 8 Sep 14, 2015 11:23AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: Case Histories by Kate Atkinson 1 11 May 21, 2015 12:22PM  
Does Julia grate on anyone else's nerves? 12 184 Mar 26, 2014 09:38AM  
English Mysteries...: November 2013 - Case Histories 41 107 Dec 01, 2013 04:23PM  
Bound Together: Case Histories 66 98 Sep 18, 2013 12:28PM  
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Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award and she has been a critically acclaimed international bestselling author ever since.

She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories,
More about Kate Atkinson...

Other Books in the Series

Jackson Brodie (4 books)
  • One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie, #2)
  • When Will There Be Good News? (Jackson Brodie, #3)
  • Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie, #4)
Life After Life When Will There Be Good News? (Jackson Brodie, #3) Behind the Scenes at the Museum Started Early, Took My Dog (Jackson Brodie, #4) One Good Turn (Jackson Brodie, #2)

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“She should have done science, not spent all her time with her head in novels. Novels gave you a completely false idea about life, they told lies and they implied there were endings when in reality there were no endings, everything just went on and on and on.” 274 likes
“If they would all sleep all the time she wouldn't mind being their mother.” 14 likes
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