Sunday Books: Kate Atkinson Crime Novels

Last week I told you how I nearly gave up on the crime genre. Fortunately a friend recommended Kate Atkinson to me.

I love these books for all the reasons that I didn’t enjoy P.D.James.The stories are refreshingly original and far from formulaic. There are no predictable endings. The narratives twist and turn, weaving together events and characters in surprising ways. While the crimes are usually brutal and shocking, the tone remains lighter, helped by the liberal dose of humour found throughout each novel.

Jackson Brodie, the central character, is an ex-police officer and detective who seems to constantly stumble into the middle of some heinous conspiracy or crime which he goes on to expose. His character is continually developed. Over the course of the novels our understanding of him deepens and we see him change in response to the events he has been caught up in.

But Jackson Brodie isn’t the only well developed character. In these books even minor characters are given complexity. I find my self caring for them and worrying about what will become of them. They are diverse, eccentric and often surprise. They are nothing like the simplistic, cliched characters that so annoyed me in The Private Patient by P.D.James.

There are four books in the Jackson Brodie series: Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News and Started Early, Took My Dog which I’m reading at the moment.


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