Peter Robinson's Alan Banks series is a favorite of mine. This one is reminiscent of the first Robinson novel I read, In a Dry Season, in that it invoPeter Robinson's Alan Banks series is a favorite of mine. This one is reminiscent of the first Robinson novel I read, In a Dry Season, in that it involved switching back and forth between an historical time period and the current day, tying together and old crime and a new one. As Banks says, "If there's one I've learned in all my years as a detective, it's that the past is never over, no mater what has been handed down." ...more
I was enchanted with the quirky Jackson Brodie and the way the different cases tied together in Atkinson's Case Histories. Atkinson is equally adept wI was enchanted with the quirky Jackson Brodie and the way the different cases tied together in Atkinson's Case Histories. Atkinson is equally adept with the matryoshka theme in One Good Turn. A story within a story within a story within a story. There is only one little story that doesn't seem to fit - perhaps the smallest doll in the set, but I don't see the connection between it and the larger dolls (except for the absurdly obvious).
In Case Histories Jackson Brodie inherited a small fortune from one of his clients and he's retired to France, leaving his private investigation business behind. In One Good Turn Jackson is trying to adjust to his new circumstances. He's visiting Edinburgh to attend the Festival with his girlfriend, Julia - a would-be actress who has a part in a bad play premiering at the Festival. As the story opens, Jackson witnesses a road rage incident in which a thug in a Honda rear-ends a mysterious man known as Paul Bradley (not his real name) while stopped in traffic and then attacks him with a baseball bat. Martin Canning, author of the formulaic Nina Riley mystery series and whose nom de plume is Alex Cross, steps out of his normal "old lady" ways and rescues Paul Bradley by tossing his laptop at Honda Man's head. Have enough characters been introduced in the first scene? I haven't yet mentioned Gloria Hatter and her neighbor Pam Murdo, who also witness the road rage incident while standing in line to see Richard Mott's comedy act at the Festival.
Atkinson nests a story within a story within a story - a crime within a crime within a crime. Jackson Brodie and Martin Canning are at the center of the activity - though they are operating in seemingly independent planes through most of the book. In the end, we see all the connections and relationships between the stories (except the one I mentioned earlier - but maybe I missed something subtle that tied it in with the rest).
Most of the characters are well-developed - especially Jackson and Martin, but also Gloria, Detective Inspector Louise Monroe, and Julia. With so many characters, though, some aren't as well developed (Graham, Tatiana, Terence, Richard Mott).
Despite the nested stories the book is a relatively quick read. It's not a page-turner in the sense of many mysteries. Yes, you want to solve all the mysteries, but you keep reading as much for the quirky humor surrounding Jackson and the rest of the characters as for the plot.
Atkinson has a winner in the Jackson Brodie character and as long as he doesn't become formulaic like Martin Cannning's/Alex Cross' Nina Riley I'll continue to read this series....more
Another "smart" mystery from Minette Walters, who does not write series mysteries. Each of her books is a stand alone novel. I read the first two thirAnother "smart" mystery from Minette Walters, who does not write series mysteries. Each of her books is a stand alone novel. I read the first two thirds very quickly, but slowed down toward the end because I ended vacation and went back to work. I wish I had been able to read t all in a few sittings because when I was only reading a few pages each night, I started missing some of the interconnections. Some interesting themes in this one: racism, family relationships, animal cruelty, revenge, justice, mental illness, fidelity, and tolerance....more
I listened to this on CD while driving to/from work. I've never read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories and I've only listened to audio books during lI listened to this on CD while driving to/from work. I've never read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories and I've only listened to audio books during long road trips. This was okay, but it didn't make me want to go out and read Arthur Conan Doyle. I think I'm glad I listened to it rather than read it, because I might not have stuck it through if I was reading. But, then again, maybe I was irritated by the reader's voice? Hmmmm......more