The Mysterious Bookshop

Atkinson, Kate, Case Histories

Certain characters are the stock in trade of detective novels: innocent female murder victims, embittered spinsters, wives with secrets, teenage runaways, sexy old actresses and men who feel driven to try, over and over, to protect or avenge the downtrodden. Kate Atkinson's latest novel contains all these characters, which might suggest it's just another variation on a host of well-worn themes -- but, amazingly enough, this cast, as familiar as it is, still has the power to ensnare us. In fact, Case Histories is so exuberant, so empathetic, that it makes most murder-mystery page-turners feel as lifeless as the corpses they're strewn with.
ā€” The New York Times Sunday Book Review


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