Random House Australia, Transworld Publishers,
Reviewed by Kerrie Smith
Crime/ Thriller. Edinburgh, Scotland
When Paul Bradley brakes suddenly to avoid hitting a pedestrian he becomes
the victim of road rage. The driver of the Honda behind him takes to
Paul's car with a baseball bat, and then starts on Paul himself. Paul is
saved by Martin Canning who throws his computer bag and hits the Honda
driver in the head.
Among those who saw the incident is Jackson Brodie, retired police
officer, in Edinburgh with his current girl friend for the Festival of
Arts. Jackson decides that he does not want to get involved and leaves the
scene without making a report, although he gives Martin his phone number.
Martin however is not so lucky. His good deed leads him to wait in
hospital for Paul to be released, and then he agrees to stay overnight
with him to make sure he is all right.
In this cleverly woven web of violence and deceit, author Kate Atkinson
draws together a number of those who witnessed the road rage incident.
Even at the height of the Festival, and packed with tourists, Edinburgh
can become a very small town indeed. We haven't seen the last of the Honda
driver, nor of Jackson Brodie, nor even of Gloria and Pam who were among
the bystanders. So finely are the threads between them drawn, that it
comes as a surprise on the last page to discover how little actual time
has passed. We have learned a lot about their lives, witnessed a couple of
murders, and solved a few mysteries on the way. And right at the end, on
the very last page, comes a twist that few readers will forsee.
ONE GOOD TURN is subtitled A Jolly Murder Mystery, and author Kate
Atkinson certainly doesn't allow mystery, violence, and murder get in the
way of a fine sense of humour. Several times I found myself smiling at a
clever turn of phrase, and sometimes at the situations the characters have
found themselves in.
Kate Atkinson introduced Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, and
ex-private detective, in her recent bestseller CASE HISTORIES. With that
novel she won the Saltire Book of the Year Award, and the Prix
Westminster. In ONE GOOD TURN Jackson Brodie is almost an anti-hero, a bit
of a rolling stone, but one that would like very much to be gathering some
moss. I look forward to the next in this series.
October 2006 Review first published on Murder and Mayhem
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