Thursday, 22 September 2011

Why I Love Kate Atkinson's Crime Anne Cassidy

After reading BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MUSEUM many years ago I was surprised to hear that Kate Atkinson had written a crime novel CASE HISTORIES. I’d thought of Atkinson as a literary writer and although I love Crime Fiction I didn’t think of it as literary.

CASE HISTORIES changed all that. Here was a brilliant, moving, pacey, clever crime novel. It was full of startling stories seemingly unrelated. The detective didn’t turn up for four or five long chapters and even then it wasn’t clear how he related to what had been described so far.

What a read! A book that described the powerful love of families and the terrible heartache of loss. Plus several wonderful whodunits and a great laid back detective. Jackson Brodie had the usual difficult past and his own heartaches but he also had the luck of the devil and crimes seemed to solve themselves around him.

When I heard there was a second book A JOLLY MURDER MYSTERY I thought no, bad idea, to follow up a brilliant book. It can never be as good. But it was, in an entirely different way. The same can be said of a further two books WHEN WILL THERE BE GOOD NEWS and STARTED EARLY TOOK MY DOG.

Thank you Kate Atkinson for making crime fiction matter so much.


  1. Couldn't agree with you more! I think she is marvellous and is someone who gives the lie to the perception that crime is pulpy and less well written than other stuff out there. I am in awe of her plotting ability but she's so good at PLACE and characters too. I was very disappointed in the tv versions which weren't nearly as complex as the books. Jackson Brodie looked good though!

  2. I am in awe of these books - you can feel her plot - whatever it is to be - is clicking away in the background but at the same time you are so involved with her disconnected moments of life, love and pain that they are enougha nd fill the attention, and yet it all pulls together so "obviously" at the end, almost like a little joke. I enjoyed the tv, but agree that the story wasn't complex enough. For a start she often writes JB as if he's one of the many characters, (not high profile lead character - esp with shirt often off - as in tv terms) which creates an interesting emotional range for the reader. Also thought tv was sweetened esp his conflicts about his daughter and wife. Sorry she's put JB away though as the books were a pleasure.