This book starts out telling us three ‘Case Histories’, just briefly what has happened, all three cases are what would be considered ‘cold’ cases. We learn the details years later when Private Detective Jackson Brodie is hired to investigate these cases.
Case One: Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. Thirty years later, two of her surviving sisters unearth a shocking clue to Olivia’s disappearance among the clutter of their childhood home. . .
Case Two: Theo delights in his daughter Laura’s wit, effortless beauty, and selfless love. But her first day as an associate in his law firm is also the day when Theo’s world turns upside down. . .
Case Three: Michelle looks around one day and finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making. A very needy baby and a very demanding husband make her every waking moment a reminder that somewhere, somehow, she’d made a grave mistake and would spend the rest of her life paying for it–until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.
I read this book in an evening, not because it was compelling so much as it was past due at the library. Even so the fact that I was able to read it in such a short space of time shows that it is an enjoyable piece of writing.
Each person that hires Jackson Brodie has a unique reason for it. Kate Atkinson draws her characters very carefully, at the end of the book, she doesn’t have to explain why a character does something, because by that point, you know them as well as she does. Something else important and the I appreciate is every character introduced has some effect, there are none that are just sitting around taking up space. Of course, then you start to wonder where they fit in, but sometimes I was just caught up in the story line and when the person became involved it was a pleasant surprise.
The book does not end with everything ‘tied up in a neat little bow’. For example, Jackson Brodie finds out who kills someone, but what happens to the killer is not explored, however, you are not left wondering what happened in the case, you know what happened, who did it and why.