From the Pen of...Kate Atkinson

You may already be familiar with Kate Atkinson from the popular Life After Life (2013) and its companion piece A God in Ruins (2015). But you may not be familiar with her Jackson Brodie mystery series, including One Good Turn. They are worth a read as well. A selection of the stories have been turned into a Masterpiece Mystery television production and are available at the library on DVD.

Amid the bizarre events of the Edinburgh Festival, an incident of road rage occurs. It is witnessed by many people - in particular by quietly percolating Gloria (wife of shady developer Graham), her loyal friend Pam, Jackson Brodie (a suddenly-wealthy policeman) and Martin (a yearning–to-be-loved mystery writer). Each reacts to the accident differently, but a laptop sailing through the air hitting the man wielding a baseball bat sends events rippling throughout the book to the gasp of the last sentence. 

Like the magic appearance of yet another matryoshka doll, the plot twists and doubles back endlessly working its way around money-laundering, a dominatrix, a troupe of actors, a pregnancy test, an attack dog, failed marriages and yes, a body dumped from a hotel window. Figures flit at the edge of your visions, and you catch a glimpse of their disappearing coattails. And no good deed goes unpunished.

But amid the dark delight of all this action there is a quiet center of human frailty and kindness. Though Ms. Atkinson writes with a wry pen, you realize how wisely she observes life with both its triumphs and disappointments.

One Good Turn – deserves another read.

-Lois Glick, Great Falls Library 

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