About a year ago, I read a wonderful mystery by Kate Atkinson called Case Histories
. The main character is former cop and private detective Jackson Brodie, who has a tough-guy exterior, a self-deprecating sense of humor, and a tender heart. Brodie is simultaneously working on three cold cases, most of which are about 20 years old, and feature people and situations that intertwine at various intervals. This mystery is very different from the who-dunnit where you are introduced to the crime and, as you follow the investigation, pick up various clues in a more or less linear way. In this mystery, the author takes you back and forth from the past to the present, where you become acquainted with the victims while they were alive, and get to know the people they left behind. Atkinson develops a cast of very unusual, diverse and well-drawn characters, the best of which is Brodie himself.
Happily, Jackson Brodie is back as the central character in Atkinson's newest book, One Good Turn, another not-to-be missed title for readers who like contemporary mysteries with well-developed characters and situations that inter-connect; that feature really, despicable bad guys, and somewhat less-then-perfect good guys. Enjoy!