It is Kate Atkinson’s brilliant writing that makes this almost thriller. Her characters are excellently individual, although, for the purist there may be too many of them. And Jackson Brodie, private detective, ex-policeman, whom Atkinson fans will have fondly met before, is almost not the main character. His bumps into, rather than meets or even investigates, the main players.
My favourite is Nathan, teenaged son of Tommy, one of three golfing pals who are in business together. Bad business, actually. Nathan has two jobs; gofer for eccentric gay comedy showmen, and helping at a House of Horrors routine. He is both clever and modest, sensitive and kind.
Another great one is Tommy’s wife Chrystal. Rough diamond with a dodgy past and a canny sense of survival and a she-wolf defence of her little daughter by Tommy, and her step-son, Nathan.
Jackson’s current case is a simple one of is-my partner-having-an-affair? Which has nothing to do with the dark deeds of sex-trafficking which lurk in the shadows of the seaside villages and towns of North-East Yorkshire. He only becomes involved on the periphery when he meets a potential suicide on the clifftops of Flamborough Heads.
I say almost thriller, because it is more chatty than thrilling, but is it readable? Yes, definitely. And splattered with humour and wonderful characters.
Thanks to Penguin Random House, South Africa, for this Doubleday Imprint ARC.