By Jennifer Reese
October 06, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

One Good Turn


In One Good Turn, the sequel to her sensational genre bender Case Histories, Kate Atkinson continues the saga of investigator Jackson Brodie, now retired, but like so many literary ex-cops, unable to stay out of trouble. Accompanying his actress girlfriend to a Scottish theater festival, Brodie finds a corpse floating in the sea. As in Histories, Atkinson braids Jackson’s tale with several apparently unrelated thriller plots: A timid writer unaccountably intervenes in a street fight, while a dumpy housewife copes with the lurid death (in bed with a hooker) of her crooked developer husband. Atkinson’s tart prose still sparkles, but while all the plot pieces connect, they never quite click.

One Good Turn

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