Saturday, September 20, 2014

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

Jackson Brodie isn't exactly sure where his life is headed.  A former police inspector, he is now a private investigator and works on finding people who are lost.  He seems to find things and people almost by accident, and accidently is how he meanders through life.  Jackson is currently engaged by a woman in New Zealand who wants to find her birth family.  She knows nothing about them, only that she was adopted and brought to New Zealand from England when she was a toddler.

Jackson's search takes him to Leeds where a series of events happens.  He gets a dog when he takes it from an abusive owner.  He helps an elderly woman who is confused and about to be arrested for shoplifting.  He observes Tracy Waterhouse with a little girl, her daughter he assumes. 

But it isn't Tracy's daughter.  She is also a former police inspector and as she starts her retirement, impulsively buys a little girl from her mother, a prostitute who clearly doesn't want her.  Tracy does but realizes that her impulsive act will define the rest of her life.  Her former police acquaintances must be avoided as they all will inquire how Tracy came to have a little girl.  She keeps running into them, and it is soon apparent that an old crime they helped hide has now come back to haunt them all.  Stolen children and old crimes are the linchpins on which this mystery novel is built.

Kate Atkinson has written three novels featuring Jackson Brodie.  He is a likeable character who seems to do the right thing even when he is ignoring the law.  Parts of his past float into his current life and help him solve the mysteries he is pursuing.  The reader is entranced by the coincidences that define his work.  This book is recommended for mystery readers and those of literary fiction. 

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