Sunday, May 31, 2009
One Good Turn
I've read Kate Atkinson's Whitbread award-winning first novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum and loved it. I was surprised to discover that she is now writing mystery novels.
The point of view in One Good Turn is that of several protagonists -- a writer of corny crime novels, a has-been comedian, a female detective, the wife of a crooked real estate developer, and a retired cop all of whom are trying to deal with personal challenges. Jackson Brodie, the retired cop, appeared in Atkinson's highly acclaimed Case Histories . He's in Edinburgh with his girlfriend Julia who is appearing in a Fringe Festival production. An incident of road rage escalates to murder and a diverse cast of characters are drawn together in its aftermath. There are Russian whores, hit men, performers, cops, ennui- ridden teens and con men. Murder, fraud, adultery and various petty crimes ensue.
This is a very intelligent novel that unfolds like matryoshka nesting dolls.
There is good suspense as well as clever character development and I enjoyed it immensely.