"Atkinson's bright voice rings on every page, and her sly and wry observations move the plot as swiftly as suspense turns the pages of a thriller."-San Francisco Chronicle
Two years after the events of Case Histories
left him a retired millionaire, Jackson Brodie has followed Julia, his occasional girlfriend and former client, to Edinburgh
for its famous summer arts festival. But when he witnesses a man being brutally attacked in a traffic jam - the apparent victim of an extreme case of road rage - a chain of events is set in motion that will pull the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a timid but successful crime novelist, and a hardheaded female police detective into Jackson's orbit. Suddenly out of retirement, Jackson
is once again in the midst of several mysteries that intersect in one giant and sinister scheme.
"Compelling and always entertaining." -USA Today
"One Good Turn
crackles with energy and imagination." -Chicago Tribune"
Atkinson's tart prose sparkles." -Entertainment Weekly
"Entertaining both as a murder mystery and as a sprawling multi-character study in the best post-Nashville
tradition." -The Onion
"A remarkable feat of storytelling bravado." -Washington Post
Kate Atkinson began her career with a winner: Behind the Scenes at the Museum
, which captured the Whitbread First Novel Award. She followed that success with four other books, the last of which was Case Histories
, her first foray into the mystery-suspense-detective genre. In that book she introduced detective Jackson Brodie, who reopened three cold cases and ended up a millionaire. A great deal happened in-between.
In One Good Turn Jackson returns, following his girlfriend, Julia the actress, to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh. He manages to fall into all kinds of trouble, starting with witnessing a brutal attack by "Honda Man" on another man stuck in a traffic jam. Is this road rage or something truly sinister? Another witness is Martin Canning, better known as Alex Blake, the writer. Martin is a shy, withdrawn, timid sort who, in a moment of unlikely action, flings a satchel at the attacker and spins him around, away from his victim. Gloria Hatter, wife of Graham, a millionaire property developer who is about to have all his secrets uncovered, is standing in a nearby queue with a friend when the attack takes place. There is nastiness afoot, and everyone is involved. Nothing is coincidental.
Through a labyrinthine plot which is hard to follow because the points of view are constantly changing, the real story is played out, complete with Russians, false and mistaken identities, dead bodies, betrayals, and all manner of violent encounters. Jackson gets pulled in to the investigation by Louise Monroe, a police detective and mother of an errant 14-year-old. There might be yet another novel to follow which will take up the connection those two forge in this book. Or, Jackson might just go back to France and feed apples to the local livestock.
Atkinson has written an enjoyable and lively story of no degrees of separation among the most unlikely cast of characters. Some plot lines have been left to drift, but it does hang together in a satisfying fashion. --Valerie Ryan