One Good Turn, by Kate Atkinson

An incident of road rage in Edinburgh occurs in front of Jackson Brodie, whose partner Julia is performing at a fringe show. Different narrative threads follow Brodie and the other witnesses, as Brodie is reluctantly drawn into a criminal investigation and the strands of story become progressively more entangled.

I read this directly after Case Histories, and while that book was good, this is better: it feels like Atkinson is getting into her stride. The plot structure is similar, with a set of seemingly unrelated stories that eventually converge. It didn't feel quite so contrived this time, although still fairly implausible, so the ending was necessarily a bit of a let-down. But again, the writing style really made it a pleasure to read.

I think there was more humour in this book - at least I laughed out loud several times. One niggle I had was that she has a habit of having her characters finish a thought with a bit of, well, maybe whimsy?, like this

It was extraordinary how quickly a person could be erased. Death triumphant.
It was a strange world, Jackson thought. Yes, sirree.
They wheeled out Graham's mother, Beryl, for Christmas Day and she sat on the sofa, dribbling. An extra with a non-speaking part.
I sort of noticed this early on and so it became a bit of a niggle. Not sure it's a bad thing, just something that kept snagging my attention.

Really enjoyed reading it though, so will be going on to the next book straight away.

Completed : 16-Jan-2011

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