Four unrelated unsolved crimes come together in a labyrinthine plot with Jackson Brodie, a private investigator in Cambridge, England, at the centre. Jackson is tortured by the recent dissolution of his marriage, but enjoys his visiting rights with his 8-year-old daughter. When he takes on a couple of decades-old murder cases, in addition to his usual investigations of marital infidelity and lost cats, the suspense builds. Now someone is trying to kill Jackson.
I listened to the Hachette audiobook edition (11 hours) read by Susan Jameson. Her subtle shifts in British accents and intonation help to keep track of the complex cast of characters. The creepiness of criminal insanity is effectively understated. Atkinson has been on my to-be-read list for years and this was a delightful introduction to her work. One of the benefits of taking a few years to get to this book is that more adventures of Jackson Brodie have since been published: One Good Turn (2006); When Will There Be Good News (2008); and Started Early, Took My Dog (2010). I look forward to reading them too.