Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Case Histories: A Novel by Kate Atkinson

Case Histories: A Novel (2004)

by Kate Atkinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Jackson Brodie (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,121285669 (3.79)813

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 813 mentions

English (275)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  German (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All (285)
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
A wonderfully intricate novel -- my paperback edition has a gold interlace pattern on the cover, as if to underline to interplay of characters and destinies -- Case Histories is the first in a series featuring the brooding figure of 'investigative consultant' Jackson Brodie. (I've already read the second, One Good Turn -- out of order, as it happens -- and reviewed it favourably.) The title references detailed notes and records about individuals' medical or social backgrounds and, true to this description, Atkinson's novel introduces us to a missing child, a young woman murdered on her first day at work, a husband killed with an axe in his home and, lastly, Jackson's own tragic family life. How the lives of the surviving relatives intersect is the stuff of Case Histories, and it proves a real page-turner.

Not all is revealed early on, not by a long chalk; some insights only come in the last few pages, though we never really feel cheated -- even the odd coincidences that wouldn't normally stand up if you stated them baldly work here in an entirely naturalistic fashion. But it isn't really the mechanics of a crime novel that keeps the reader enthralled, it's the people. Atkinson's strength is her depiction of characters that we can get to know vicariously, sharing her voyeuristic viewpoint, not only observing their actions but getting inside their heads.

These then are all flawed but credible persons: the grown-up daughters from a dysfunctional family; a father who obsessively, almost forensically, collects the circumstantial details surrounding his daughter's death, sorting them in file cabinets and on a crime investigation board; a mysterious woman who is about to marry into landed gentry for no discernible reason; a homeless young woman who haunts the Cambridge streets, her path crossing several of the other characters; and the main protagonist, a taciturn former soldier and police officer now turned private investigator who wanders through the pages trailing secrets of his own.

The plot? Essentially, this is a labyrinth where we follow different threads, the clews somehow all getting caught up in a multi-coloured ball. Not all the various characters are able to reach the centre of the maze, but as observers we are able to draw our own conclusions from the evidence that the author presents. Like opening a gate in a wall and peering into the garden beyond, Case Histories appeals to our desire to sate our natural curiosity.

To say much more would be to spoil potential readers' pleasure, but it may help to add that I'm really looking forward to reading the later novels involving Brodie -- When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog -- which may be some measure of the genuine enjoyment I had from this. ( )
1 vote ed.pendragon | Jun 22, 2017 |
Un giallo perfetto, complicato, con tanti casi che alla fine trovano una soluzione. Imperdibile anche per la bravura della scrittrice. ( )
  Angela.Me | Jun 10, 2017 |
Case Histories (by Kate Atkinson). An unexpectedly good crime/detective novel written in a form true to the genre of Crime (i.e. Not one of those works that seem to confuse Crime with Thriller). A nonetheless exciting series of twists and turns comparable with the works of John Bude and Agatha Christie—down to the surprising identity of the murderer(s). Hopefully, this pattern will persist in the other Jackson Brodie books. The
plot lines do include some disturbing sexual content that some readers may not be able to stomach, so do attempt with caution. #CaseHistories #KateAtkinson #JacksonBrodie #CrimeNovel #DetectiveStories #Book #Review #AFYReviews ( )
  l_affinity | Apr 18, 2017 |
Enjoyed it very much. Loved that the apparent disparate threads came together nicely. Looking forward to the next installment. ( )
  MicheleMG | Feb 1, 2017 |
It's a little startling to see (hear, since it's an audio book) bits of myself popping up all over this book. I bear a strong resemblance in a lot of ways to one character; another has a lot in common with me as well, though not in quite as "this is ridiculous" a way. I found myself finishing sentences in unison with the narrator – not because the writing was predictable, but because it was the way I would have written it. There's even a character whose husband gives her the nickname Caro, which is a name I use in one of my seedling novels. And more. The coincidences seemed to pile up.

I've loved the Case Histories tv series since the first time I came across them. I really, really love Jason Isaacs (and really, really wanted him to play Black Jack Randall, because he would have been magnificent). So I was both looking forward to this … and a little afraid of it, because you know a good tv series doesn't necessarily mean a good book, and vice versa. So I was very happy when the from the first disc this book engaged me, made me laugh, made me feel sympathy for the characters – and made me really, really love (or at least root for) Jackson Brodie.

The author is skilled at keeping her cards close to her chest. Near the end of one disc, while driving his daughter Marley home, Jackson gets a frantic call from one of his clients. The next scene sees him arriving at his ex-wife's fiance's house, and Marley mentions something that happened in a chapter just described, and then drops a reference to something not described, but the scene rushes on leaving just a smoky question mark in the air about that odd remark. But then comes a scene with the person who made the hysterical call, and … what happened? No way to know. It takes a little while before the scene which made me say "Ohhhhhhh…" – and while this might drive me up a wall with some books, I have to admire Kate Atkinson's skills.

I love that the book is about the fantasies all of us build in our minds about everyone in our lives, be it the thin homeless girl on the street corner that we see every now and then, or co-workers, or parents, or spouses. No one can know even a fraction of what's really going on in anyone else's head at any given time, not for sure and certain. It's kind of a wonder that we're able to communicate at all… A kind of a throwaway line that struck me was, about people seen on a riverbank by someone in a boat, "And then they were gone, beyond a bend in the river, vanishing like a dream." And that's how so many people are to one another in this book. The women who hire Jackson to look for the little sister who disappeared over thirty years ago – will they continue to feature in his life once the mystery is solved and the book ends? Who knows? Will Jackson's daughter Marley become one of the figures who disappears beyond a riverbend? Well, that one I do know the answer to, having seen several of the films, but at this point anything could happen.

The weaving together of the "case histories" of the title, the cases on which Jackson is engaged and the account of his own story past and present, is intricate and beautiful. Atkinson is a storyteller who requires patience from the reader. As mentioned before, there is no instant gratification to be found here – but the gratification, the satisfaction of the story well-told is deep.

I also loved the narrator, Susan Jameson; within the space of one commute she became a follow-anywhere voice. There were choices made throughout that took the book from a good read (listen) to an immersive, utterly believable experience. I loved this book. ( )
  Stewartry | Nov 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 275 (next | show all)
We have a woman who once thought she was marrying a “great mathematician” but now finds herself—a mother of four daughters and pregnant again—wondering what her glowering husband “would look like when he was dead.”

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Atkinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jameson, SusanReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)
For Anne McIntyre
First words
How lucky were they? A heat wave in the middle of the school holidays, exactly where it belonged.
She should have done science, not spent all her time with her head in novels. Novels gave you a completely false idea about life, they told lies and they implied there were endings when in reality there were no endings, everything just went on and on and on.
It wasn't that [he] believed in religion, or a God, or an afterlife. He just knew it was impossible to feel this much love and for it to end.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. More than thirty years later, two of her surviving sisters, each achingly lonely in her own way, reunite when their cruel and distant father dies. There, among the clutter of their childhood home, they unearth a shocking clue to Olivia's disappearance.

All of Theo's happiness is tied to his devoted daughter Laura. He delights in her wit, her effortless beauty, and her selfless love, and in the fact that she's taken a position at his prestigious law firm. But on her first day on the job, a maniac storms into the office and turns Theo's entire world upside down.

Michelle looks around one day and finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making. A very needy baby and a very demanding husband make her every waking moment a reminder that somewhere, somehow, she made a grave mistake and will spend the rest of her life paying for it — until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

As private detective Jackson Brodie investigates all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge. Jackson finds himself inextricably caught up in his clients' lives — their grief, their joy, their desire, and their unshakable need for resolution are very much like his own.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316010707, Paperback)

Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night.

Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac's apparently random attack.

Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making - with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband - until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.

Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . .

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:00 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Case One: Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. Case Two: Theo delights in his daughter Laura's wit, beauty, and selfless love. But her first day as an associate in his law firm is also the day when Theo's world turns upside down. Case Three: Michelle looks around one day and finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making, with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband-until a fit of rage creates a grisly escape route...As Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates all three cases, startling connections emerge. Inextricably caught up in his clients' emotions, Jackson finds their unshakable need for resolution very much like his own.… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
122 avail.
73 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.79)
0.5 5
1 21
1.5 9
2 112
2.5 27
3 431
3.5 181
4 843
4.5 108
5 380

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 116,038,828 books! | Top bar: Always visible