One Good Turn: A Jolly Murder Mystery by Kate AtkinsonOne Good Turn: A Jolly Murder Mystery by Kate Atkinson

One Good Turn: A Jolly Murder Mystery

byKate Atkinson

Paperback | September 11, 2007

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Case Histories, once again featuring ex-cop turned private investigator Jackson Brodie.

It is summer, it is the Edinburgh Festival. People queuing for a lunchtime show witness a road-rage incident – an incident which changes the lives of everyone involved. Jackson Brodie, ex-army, ex-police, ex-private detective, is also an innocent bystander – until he becomes a suspect.

With Case Histories, Kate Atkinson showed how brilliantly she could explore the crime genre and make it her own. In One Good Turn she takes her masterful plotting one step further. Like a set of Russian dolls each thread of the narrative reveals itself to be related to the last. Her Dickensian cast of characters are all looking for love or money and find it in surprising places. As ever with Atkinson what each one actually discovers is their true self.

Unputdownable and triumphant, One Good Turn is a sharply intelligent read that is also percipient, funny, and totally satisfying.

From the Hardcover edition.
Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. She has won several prizes for her short stories. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread First Novel Award and was then chosen as the overall 1995 Whitbread Book of the Year. She has written three further critically acclaimed novels: Human Croquet; ...
Title:One Good Turn: A Jolly Murder MysteryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:400 pages, 7.94 × 5.01 × 1.05 inPublished:September 11, 2007Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385662610

ISBN - 13:9780385662611


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Liked it As mysteries go this could rival Agatha Christie as. Superb piece of writing
Date published: 2017-09-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good mystery #plumreview A good read with interesting characters.
Date published: 2016-11-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good mystery #plumreview Really enjoyingg this series.
Date published: 2016-11-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good Mystery Lots of different scenarios that at times can get a little confusing but the writer helps keep the reader on track. Really funny in parts that can make you laugh out loud. Atkinson can always lead you to a surprise ending.
Date published: 2014-10-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Get Rid of the Girlfriend and I'll give it another star Jackson Brodie expected a pleasant, restful vacation in Edinburgh with his girlfriend, Julia. Shortly after his arrival a number of unsavoury events occurred which seemed to conspire against this. He became embroiled in a fight, a possible murder, and several other wicked crimes. Retirement should be much calmer that this. It's not only Brodie that had a bad several days. Author Martin Canning had no intentions of attacking a motorist, Paul Bradley didn't plan to become a victim of road rage, and Graham Hatter naturally assumed he'd continue to get away with his secret trysts. I first met the character of Jackson Brodie in Ms. Atkinson's earlier book Case Histories. I was amazed how the author could take such seeming un-connected incidences and tie them together back to a missing child. She did not fail to amaze again. I sat riveted, page after page, waiting to see how these stories would pull together. I was not to be disappointed. The only part of the story I didn't like was the character of Julia. She was a wet noodle the whole way through. Then again, that's exactly how she was planned to appear. Sorry, can't say any more on that. This was a terrific story and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. And no, I didn't guess at the final outcomes of the various story lines. Right to the end, they were surprises. When I purchased this book, I also purchased a copy of the next Jackson Brodie book When Will There be Good News? and am looking forward to reading it.
Date published: 2011-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect One of THE BEST mystery novels I have read in 30 years, but don't forget to read 'Case Histories' first, also a sensational read, you are introduced to many of the characters in this sequence and of course, the protagonist, Jackson Brodie. Ms Atkinson is now on my must read list!
Date published: 2009-11-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Suspense Filled Novel Book 2 in the Jackson Brodie series This multi layered plot full of intriguing twists, graphic violence and a bit of sexual tension kept me fascinated and maintained my interested till the last page. In the past I found it hard adapting to her style, has she mellowed or have I? This author is growing on me. Ms Atkinson’s writing is gripping, full of satire and wickedly funny. Her strength is in her development of strong characters and masterfully orchestrated sagas. The story opens with a car accident on a busy street in Edinburgh, triggering a case of road rage followed by strange events. When witnesses turn out to be connected to each other and more and more weird incidents come to light, we… the readers are slowly drawn into a multitude of exciting and complicated dramas. This multi facetted story is told by the characters, recounting their experiences, the narration alternates between them as the story progresses back and forth in time. Ms Atkinson has masterfully tied all this information into a suspense filled novel. Returning to the front scenes are: Jackson Brodie, the intrepid ex-private detective and Julia, the actress. We are also endowed with a rich cast of fascinating secondary characters. I am looking forward to reading the sequel.
Date published: 2009-04-18

Read from the Book

1 HE WAS LOST. HE WASN'T USED TO BEING LOST. HE WAS THE KIND OF man who drew up plans and then executed them efficiently, but now everything was conspiring against him in ways he decided he couldn't have foreseen. He had been stuck in a jam on the A1 for two mind-numbing hours so that it was already past the middle of the morning when he arrived in Edinburgh.Then he'd gone adrift on a one-way system and been thwarted by a road closed because of a burst water main. It had been raining, steadily and unforgivingly, on the drive north and had only begun to ease off as he hit the outskirts of town.The rain had in no way deterred the crowds - it had never occurred to him that Edinburgh was in the middle of 'the Festival' and that there would be carnival hordes of people milling around as if the end of a war had just been declared. The closest he had previously got to the Edinburgh Festival was accidentally turning on Late Night Review and seeing a bunch of middle-class wankers discussing some pretentious piece of fringe theatre. He ended up in the dirty heart of the city, in a street that somehow seemed to be on a lower level than the rest of the town, a blackened urban ravine.The rain had left the cobbles slick and greasy and he had to drive cautiously because the street was teeming with people, haphazardly crossing over or standing in little knots in the middle of the road, as if no one had told them that roads were for cars and pavements were for pedestrians. A queue snaked the length of the street - people waiting to get into what looked like a bomb hole in the wall but which announced itself, on a large placard outside the door, as 'Fringe Venue 164'. The name on the driving licence in his wallet was Paul Bradley. 'Paul Bradley' was a nicely forgettable name. He was several degrees of separation away from his real name now, a name that no longer felt as if it had ever belonged to him.When he wasn't working he often (but not always) went by the name 'Ray'. Nice and simple.Ray of light, Ray of darkness. Ray of sunshine, Ray of night. He liked slipping between identities, sliding through the cracks. The rental Peugeot he was driving felt just right, not a flashy macho machine but the kind of car an ordinary guy would drive. An ordinary guy like Paul Bradley. If anyone asked him what he did, what Paul Bradley did, he would say,'Boring stuff. I'm just a desk jockey, pushing papers around in an accounts department.' He was trying to drive and at the same time decipher his A-Z of Edinburgh to work out how to escape from this hellish street when someone stepped in front of the car. It was a type he loathed - a young dark-haired guy with thick, black-framed spectacles, two days of stubble and a fag hanging out of his mouth, there were hundreds of them in London, all trying to look like French existentialists from the Sixties. He'd bet that not one of them had ever opened a book on philosophy. He'd read the lot, Plato, Kant, Hegel, even thought about one day doing a degree. He braked hard and didn't hit the spectacles guy, just made him give a little jump, like a bullfighter avoiding the bull. The guy was furious, waving his fag around, shouting, raising a finger to him. Charmless, devoid of manners - were his parents proud of the job they'd done? He hated smoking, it was a disgusting habit, hated guys who gave you the finger and screamed,'Spin on it!', saliva flying out of their filthy, nicotine-stained mouths. He felt the bump, about the same force as hitting a badger or a fox on a dark night, except it came from behind, pushing him forward. It was just as well the spectacles guy had performed his little paso doble and got out of the way or he would have been pancaked. He looked in the rear-view mirror. A blue Honda Civic, the driver climbing out - big guy, slabs of weightlifter muscle, gym-fit rather than survival-fit, he wouldn't have been able to last three months in the jungle or the desert the way that Ray could have done. He wouldn't have lasted a day. He was wearing driving gloves, ugly black leather ones with knuckle holes. He had a dog in the back of the car, a beefy Rottweiler, exactly the dog you would have guessed a guy like that would have. The guy was a walking cliché. The dog was having a seizure in the back, spraying saliva all over the window, its claws scrabbling on the glass.The dog didn't worry him too much. He knew how to kill dogs.Ray got out of the car and walked round to the back bumper to inspect the damage. The Honda driver started yelling at him, 'You stupid, fucking twat, what did you think you were doing?' English. Ray tried to think of something to say that would be nonconfrontational, that would calm the guy down - you could see he was a pressure cooker waiting to blow, wanting to blow, bouncing on his feet like an out-of-condition heavyweight. Ray adopted a neutral stance, a neutral expression, but then he heard the crowd give a little collective 'Aah' of horror and he registered the baseball bat that had suddenly appeared in the guy's hand out of nowhere and thought, shit. That was the last thought he had for several seconds.When he was able to think again he was sprawled on the street, holding the side of his head where the guy had cracked him. He heard the sound of broken glass - the bastard was putting in every window in his car now. He tried, unsuccessfully, to struggle to his feet but managed only to get to a kneeling position as if he was at prayer and now the guy was advancing with the bat lifted, feeling the heft of it in his hand, ready to swing for a home run on his skull. Ray put an arm up to defend himself,made himself even more dizzy by doing that and, sinking back on to the cobbles, thought, Jesus, is this it? He'd given up, he'd actually given up - something he'd never done before - when someone stepped out of the crowd, wielding something square and black that he threw at the Honda guy, clipping him on the shoulder and sending him reeling. He blacked out again for a few seconds and when he came to there were a couple of policewomen hunkered down beside him, one of them saying, 'Just take it easy, sir,' the other one on her radio calling for an ambulance. It was the first time in his life that he'd been glad to see the police.From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF 2006“This is a detective novel packed with more wit, insight, and subtlety than an entire shelf full of literary fiction… the plot is an incidental pleasure in a book crammed with quirky humour and cogent reflections on contemporary life…. Highly recommended reading.” — Marie Claire (5/5 Stars)“[Atkinson] writes like an angel and her sense of humor is wed firmly to her formidable intelligence… a wonderful read…. I remain utterly impressed by Kate Atkinson. I’ll definitely be reading anything else she cares to publish.” — Philadelphia Inquirer “The suspense ratchets up quickly and palpably, as surely as when the doctor experiments with different settings for your new pacemaker. . . . One Good Turn is full of a zippy satire that provides a smooth skating surface for the reader to whiz through. This is clean, purposeful prose that drives the plot, wickedly funny in places, sometimes quietly insightful and fairly faithful to the traditional mystery form. Atkinson’s novel is like something her detective might drink in the wee hours after knocking around the docks, something straight up with a twist.” —The Globe and Mail “One Good Turn is the most fun I’ve had with a novel this year.”–Ian Rankin, in the Guardian (UK) “Thrillingly addictive. . . . In One Good Turn Atkinson proves quite unique in her ability to fuse emotional drama and thriller. She is so successful that it is surprising this has not been attempted more often (although it takes a writer of extraordinary range to bring it off).”–The Times (UK)“One Good Turn is an absolute joy to read. . . . The pleasure of One Good Turn lies in the ride, in Atkinson’s wry, unvanquished characters, her swooping, savvy, sarcastic prose and authorial joie de vivre.”–Guardian (UK) “In One Good Turn, . . . the deft and tricky British author Kate Atkinson shows again, in her inimitable bleakly funny way, how much easier it is to explain a death than to solve a life.” –The New York Times Book Review“One Good Turn . . . demonstrates that no good deed goes unpunished, often violently. A fender-bender outside a comedy performance initiates a run of multiple murders, enlivened by comic set pieces.”–The Village Voice (A Favourite Book of 2006)“Crackling one-liners, spot-on set pieces and full-blooded characters help make this another absorbing character study from the versatile, effervescent Atkinson.” — Publishers Weekly “[Atkinson has a] knack for psychological portraiture and dark humor… Paradoxically, murder has given her a framework that helps liberate her insights on the living, as the lurking presence of corpses reminds readers there are worse offenses than bad parenting and worse fates than unhappy marriages…. Atkinson knows that the line between victim and tormentor can be blurry and that survivors sometimes have good reasons for guilt…. Astutely, Atkinson has noticed that the high-tech lifestyle has given rise to a high-tech deathstyle that makes the old props of detective fiction — fingerprints, dusting powder, alibis — as passé as a fedora.” —The New York Times “Perhaps the most consummately all-round book of the year is Kate Atkinson’s One Good Turn, a marvelous thriller so beautifully written you’d stop to admire the prose if you weren’t so busy page-turning…. It features a killer most writers would die for, and a plot that touches genius. It’s unalloyed pleasure from first to last.” — The Scotsman“In [Atkinson’s] skilful hands, the occasionally grisly story that unfolds amid the festivities often has a surprisingly humorous, almost lighthearted spirit…. These characters are complex, being by turns philosophical, cranky, melancholy, bemused, and confused…. Atkinson provides some surprising denouements as she deftly twists the convergent narrative threads into one vivid tapestry.” —Vancouver Sun"This is a detective novel packed with more wit, insight, and subtlety than an entire shelf full of literary fiction… the plot is an incidental pleasure in a book crammed with quirky humour and cogent reflections on contemporary life…. Highly recommended reading.” — Marie Claire (5/5 Stars)"Atkinson’s voice rings on every page, and her sly and wry observations move the plot as swiftly as suspense turns the pages of a thriller.” San Francisco Chronicle“Atkinson is a restrained, perceptive writer skilled at telling stories from multiple and hugely diverse points of view… Her prose is piercing, lucid and perceptive.” USA Today“Acerbic, eccentric, and maddeningly perverse, she is a writer I always read with my heart in my mouth, as if watching a trapeze artist perform a high-wire act between cockiness and courage. Here, as in Case Histories, she is splendid at the stuff of people’s lives… Her observations about Edinburgh are easily as funny as Alexander McCall Smith’s, though less benign.” — The Independent“Atkinson endows her cast with a fascinating richness of life. . . . Whatever she does is done to the highest of literary standards. She has produced an engrossing, enjoyable, complex novel packed with intriguing characters, vividly imagined scenes and a compelling plot.”–Times Literary Supplement (UK)“Atkinson is best at the quiet desperation of middle-aged marriages, and characters revealed by the intricacies of a plot that exploits flashbacks and missed connections. Atkinson, while having fun with the murder-mystery genre, slyly slips us a muted tragedy.”–The Telegraph (UK)“It doesn’t really matter in which genre Atkison chooses to write. Her subject is always the irrecoverable loss of love and how best to continue living once you have glumly recognised that. . . . Her gift is in presenting this unnerving and subversive philosophy as a dazzling form of entertainment.”–Sunday Times (UK)“Atkinson is frequently very funny – the extracts from Martin’s Nina Blake novels, in particular, are a sustained comic highlight–but while the tone stays light, the plot continues to darken. . . . [One Good Turn is] that rarest of things–a good literary novel and a cracking holiday read.”–Observer (UK)From the Hardcover edition.