Normally when you love a book you race through it, however with Kate Atkinson’s second novel featuring retired detective and private investigator Jackson Brodie ‘One Good Turn’ is one of those novels that you just have to savour and enjoy every second of. The tale starts quite a while on from ‘Case Histories’ its predecessor however you don’t need to have read another Brodie to enjoy this and indeed enjoy it you will.
It’s Edinburgh Festival and people are queuing to see a lunchtime show where most everyone becomes a witness to a serious act of road rage which almost becomes murder. Atkinson then takes us on a journey alongside some of the people that witness the event and whose lives change because of it.
Two of my favourites were Martin the writer of some crime novels featuring heroine Nina Riley which he writes under the pseudonym Alex Blake a character far more masculine and witty than Martin himself who people either see as being gay or a bit of an old woman in a mans body, but he has a much deeper story than originally meets the eye.. Gloria a middle aged lay who discover her husband is in a coma from an escapade with a dominatrix, we watch as she happily adjusts to being a widower before her husband is even dead.
Brodie also witnesses the event but thinks nothing of it as he is trying to have a blissful holiday while his girlfriend (who so sums up some real life frustrated actors I have met) is working in fringe theatre at the festival. However on a trip to an island he finds a body a body that then disappears and Brodie becomes a suspect of a ‘phantom’ murder. As a suspect he then reluctantly yet somewhat excitedly decides to find the real killer and this takes us on a journey that draws along the stories of the characters above plus a washed up comedian, and the investigator of the cases single mother Louise who has a strange chemistry with Brodie also. It gets complex but Atkinson makes it simple and also very funny.
So far this has been my favourite Atkinson novel; the subtitle ‘A Jolly Murder Mystery’ is spot on however shouldn’t dumb it down. Atkinson with this book has shown not only can she make the most amazing and believable flawed funny characters but she can make an amazing plot. This book is a must read and seriously competes for best book I have read this year so far, stop reading this and go and buy it now!