A few years ago I reviewed the sequel to Case Histories, One Good Turn (see post). At that time I'd really wanted to read Case Histories so when I was trying to figure out what book to highlight on the student services blog in February (a fiction month) Case Histories came to mind as the perfect choice.
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
A unique and engaging mystery novel, Case Histories focuses on three cold cases: a beloved child disappears from her backyard without a trace (1970), a 20-something is brutally murdered by a mysterious man who barges into her father's law office on her first day of work there (1994), and a young mother essentially orphaned her daughter when she attacked her husband with an ax in a fit of rage (1979).
One way or another police inspector-turned-private investigator Jackson Brodie becomes involved in the cases, forgotten by all but the people personally affected by the traumatic events, and endeavors to find ways of bringing closure to those same individuals.
While the storylines in Case Histories are myriad, they are balanced in such a way that the reader never becomes overwhelmed. All of the characters in are multilayered and Atkinson's understanding of the psyche is what makes this novel stand out.