Case Histories (Jackson Brodie, #1)
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Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  34,763 ratings  ·  3,305 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...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published October 17th 2005 by Back Bay Books (first published 2004)
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Kinga
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'...more
Jen
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
Jon
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
Teresa
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 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 enjoy...more
Kim

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...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Pearl Ruled: CASE HISTORIES by KATE ATKINSON

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
...more
Anna
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.
Brian
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...more
Sue
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
Emily
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...more
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...more
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
Britany
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...more
Joel
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
Lobstergirl
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
Barbara
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...more
LJ
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...more
Erica
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
Emily
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...more
adA
Jan 02, 2008 adA rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: those who owns the zen art of patience
Shelves: advisory
After around sixty pages of intense boredom and unbearable hopeless information, i almost decided to give up the book seeing that there was still a few hundred pages left. However, becasue i love mystery books and have all the most respect for the authors who wrote them, i continued reading...
turns out that this boook is an excellent book. A private investigator, Jackson Brodie, recieved three intriguing cases. Although he knows taht he won't be able to solve all of them, he still sets out to ex...more
Beth
In the book Case Histories, private investigator Jackson Brodie, receives three new clients in the course of a couple of weeks that all have "cold cases" they need closure on.

Case 1 - 34 years ago 3-year old Olivia Land disappeared from her backyard, where she had been sleeping with her sister Amelia in a tent, never to be seen again. Victor Land, their father dies bringing Olivia's two surviving sisters back to their childhood home where they find the first clue in Olivia's disappearance.

Case 2...more
Anna
Aug 05, 2007 Anna rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone and everyone!
I LOVED this book - and I mean loved it to the point where I've been giving it as a birthday/Xmas gift to just about everyone I know for the past year or so.

For me, this was a finely-crafted piece of literature that read like a good old mystery novel. The characters are well-developed and compelling, and the interweaving storylines are truly gripping (lots of fun twists and turns!). I really didn't want this one to end - it's one of my all-time favorites!
bookczuk
I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, but after a pang and twinge I always get when i read of a child's death or when a child goes missing, I was really absorbed in this book. Three unrelated cases with the detective Jackson Brodie linking them all-- fascinating how Atkinson interweaves the characters and stories. Nothing is entirely quite like it seems and the back and forth telling of tales really serves the stories well. It is a well told tale, though nothing shocking. The dark sides o...more
Leanne
The mysteries were solved too quickly and too easily. Some of the resolutions had little backup and few supporting clues in the earlier text. Some of the coincidences bordered on ridiculous. But in the end, Kate Atkinson's writing trumps all (or most) of the qualms I may or may not have had about this novel.

The novel centres around three completely unrelated cold cases that occurred, respectively, 34, 10, and 15 years ago. The first concerns the disappearance of precious 3-year-old golden girl,...more
Jillian
I got so tired and confused listening this that I went on Goodreads to wonder if I was missing something b/c it had such great reviews. Then I read this review and thought, "Ah. This is how I feel too, and plenty of other people agreed with me. Time to put the book aside and start another."

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 g...more
Keith
After reading a very complimentary review of Atkinson's new book, Life After Life I remembered I had copies of her first two Jackson Brodie books. Case Histories is a somewhat astonishingly complicated crime thriller with a cast of characters that rivals Dickens at his most expansive. The book involves private detective Jackson Brodie in three cold cases: a child who disappeared; a young woman murdered in her father's law office; and a young woman who seemingly snapped one day and killed her hus...more
Carl
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...more
Melissa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
✿Sandra
This book introduced me to an interesting group of characters. In the end, there were some I liked and some I despised.

It starts out with three separate case histories and then introduces Jackson Brodie, a private detective, that becomes involved in all three of them as cold cases. Even though the tragedies seem unconnected, in the end that's not the case.

This book keeps revealing new secrets until the end. I also loved the humor mixed in throughout. I'm looking forward to the next book in the s...more
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Caroline f/k/a Michelle (spoilers) 8 183 Jul 24, 2013 03:17AM  
Really disappointing 31 256 Jul 20, 2013 08:01AM  
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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
More about Kate Atkinson...
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.” 242 likes
“If they would all sleep all the time she wouldn't mind being their mother.” 14 likes
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