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Case Histories
by Kate Atkinson

Category: Fiction / Mystery
0 pages; ISBN: 0316740403

Rating: 7/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner


Case Histories
Kate Atkinson
Little Brown, Nov 2004, $23.95, 320 pp.
ISBN 0316740403

In 1970 four year old Olivia Land and her two sisters Julia and Amelia are having a sleep out in their backyard. When Julia and Amelia awaken the next morning, they find Olivia is gone. Thirty-four years later, the two sisters find Olivia’s favorite toy Blue Mouse in their recently deceased father’s house. They hire private investigator Jackson Brodie to see if he can learn what happened to her.

In 1979, Theo is thankful that his eighteen year old daughter works in his office instead of traveling to dangerous countries like her friends are doing. The safety of his office is only an illusion when a bland looking man slits Laura’s throat. The killer escapes. Decades later Theo hires Jackson Brodie to track down the culprit.

Also in 1979, a depressed and sleep-deprived Michelle, after giving birth to her daughter Tania, kills her husband with an axe when he wakes the baby up. Years later, Michelle’s sister Shirley hires Jackson to find her niece.

While Jackson is juggling these three cases, someone cuts his brake lines causing him to have an accident and a few days later, someone blows up his house. The incidents may relate to any of the three cases he is working on but he is not about to drop them because he understands their need for closure and wants to give it to each of them.

The three cases don’t connect in any way except through Jackson, who finds himself emotionally involved with his clients who are in deep anguish. Jackson has compassion and empathy for people he sees as victims. Readers will care for him and hope that the turmoil in his personal life will end happily.

Harriet Klausner


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