Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Case Histories” as Want to Read:
Case Histories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Case Histories (Jackson Brodie #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  60,640 Ratings  ·  4,965 Reviews
'Investigating other people’s tragedies and cock-ups and misfortunes was all he knew. He was used to being a voyeur, the outsider looking in, and nothing, but nothing, that anyone did surprised him any more. Yet despite everything he’d seen and done, inside Jackson there remained a belief – a small, battered and bruised belief – that his job was to help people be good rath ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published June 1st 2005 by Black Swan (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Case Histories, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Elizabeth K.
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 11, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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'
Case Histories- Jackson Brodie # 1- by Kate Atkinson is a 2007 Little, Brown and Co. publication.

Jackson Brodie, private detective, has an interesting case load: A father looking for the man who viciously murdered his daughter, an elderly lady with so many cats, Jackson must help her look for them, a pair of eccentric sisters looking for the truth about their missing sister, and the sister of an ax murderer is looking for her runaway niece.

The cases are ones where a client wished to investigat
Jul 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 18, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction

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
Sep 24, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Richard Derus

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
Mar 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: greatbooks
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
Bill Khaemba
“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.”

I have been in a reading slump but this book was exactly what I needed… I wanted a cool crime novel; I got that and something very different...

I enjoyed this book immensely; I had the 4th book in the series in hardcover so I decided to g
To be honest, I thought this book was a bit of a mess. The subject matter was often compelling and I deeply appreciated her focus mostly on character rather than plot (which was an especially good choice not only because it played to Atkinson's strengths in psychological drama, but because was pretty easy to guess the resolution of each plot not long after it appeared). She does fairly convincing atmosphere, too. And she definitely committed to her unlikeable characters until the end.

But it's on
Apr 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 14, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
In Case Histories, Kate Atkinson gives us a detective story unlike any other I’ve read. Normally, in detective novels, the reader sees things through the eyes of the detective, who is usually the main or only protagonist, and tries to solve the case alongside him or her. This classic ‘who done it’ formula is a lot of fun for fans of the detective genre (like me) but it’s not one Atkinson chooses to use.

In this novel, Jackson Brodie (ex-army, ex-police, ex-husband, current private detective and f
Deborah Joyner
Aug 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
An Odd1
Aug 02, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Arielle Walker
Gahhh, what a mess. The three "case histories" are "connected" by complete coincidence, and only the tiniest possible amount, the characters are complete caricatures and the entire plot was contrived and overblown. I've heard a lot about Kate Atkinson, most of it amazing, but this does not tempt me to read any more of her books... Though it could be worse, I suppose. At least she can string a coherent sentence together.

NOTE: I have since read Life After Life and it is worlds away from this mess.
Apr 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
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
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Case Histories is the first of Kate Atkinson’s four Jackson Brodie mysteries (not that I knew that when I started reading). Mysteries usually mean murder, and in this book there are three, and all occurred many (34, 10, and 15) years ago and all are still unsolved when Brodie takes them on. First, we meet Olivia, a three year-old who is the youngest and favorite daughter in a family with four young daughters, who vanished one night thirty-four years ago and still has not been found. Atkinson mak ...more
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
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
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-own-this
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,
William Dale
Sep 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have loved Kate Atkinson since her debut novel "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" won the Whitbread award. While this the book is about a series of murders, it's really more about the way these horrible acts affect the characters and how they go on interacting with those around them as damaged victims themselves. Like the other books by Atkinson that I've read, it was funny, sweeping and devastating. There were literally times that I would be on the verge of tears and in the next paragraph, I w ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Play Book Tag: Case Histories - Jackson Brodie #1 - Kate Atkinson - four stars 5 20 May 22, 2017 02:50PM  
2017 Reading Chal...: Case Histories 1 22 Dec 27, 2015 10:03AM  
Really disappointing 35 384 Sep 21, 2015 02:28PM  
  • Resolution (Garnethill, #3)
  • The Various Haunts of Men (Simon Serrailler, #1)
  • Midnight Fugue (Dalziel and Pascoe, #24)
  • The Sculptress
  • White Nights (Shetland Island, #2)
  • Necessary as Blood (Duncan Kincaid & Gemma James #13)
  • A Dark-Adapted Eye
  • Full Dark House (Bryant & May, #1)
  • The Last Detective (Peter Diamond, #1)
  • A Sight for Sore Eyes
  • The Crossing Places (Ruth Galloway, #1)
  • Haunted Ground (Nora Gavin, #1)
  • A Darker Domain (Inspector Karen Pirie, #2)
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)

Share This Book

“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.” 304 likes
“It wasn't that [he] believed in religion, or a God, or an afterlife. He just knew it was impossible to feel this much love and for it to end.” 18 likes
More quotes…