callmemadam (callmemadam) wrote,

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Literary mysteries

When you're stressed out, there's nothing like a book you can hardly put down and One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson is just such a book. After enjoying Case Histories I was irritated by the critical comments I read about it. You see, Kate Atkinson is regarded as an author of literary novels, so she 'plays with the mystery genre'. No, she doesn't! She writes a very good mystery novel. Is that somehow an inferior thing to do? She then follows it up by writing an even better one. I read One Good Turn within twenty four hours, absolutely gripped by the complex connections, coincidences and surprising turns of events. Ex-copper Jackson Brodie makes a welcome reappearance along with assorted villains, thugs and victims; there is a very long cast list. By setting the story in Edinburgh during the Festival, Kate Atkinson justifies the presence of so many disparate and previously unconnected characters in the same place, while Edinburgh is almost a character itself. The book is also chock-full of literary allusions; does this make it literary? You could still enjoy the story without getting them. Highly recommended.
Tags: critics, kate atkinson, mystery novels

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