Saturday 6 August 2011

Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

I'm joining in with Dulwich Divorcee's new book club who set this latest novel by Kate Atkinson as our homework for the month.

First of all, I'm bloomin' impressed with myself for finishing it within time. Miracle! I cannot go to sleep without having read something to switch my brain off from the normal drudgery. But normally I manage 3 or 4 pages before words start swimming in front of my eyes or I realise I've just read a whole paragraph and have absolutely no idea at all what I've read. Useless, I tell you. In addition I had 2 days without my reading glasses and couldn't actually read it! (Note to self: Get spare glasses)

Anyhow, I was delighted when this book won the vote (not sure if there was an actual vote) because a) I totally love Kate Atkinson and have read all her books, b) it was on my to-read list anyway and c) I found a copy in the local charity shop for 75p. Overall, a result.

On to the review.

Jackson Brodie, private investigator. With a name like that, what's not to lust like? He drifts around, picks up waifs and strays here and there and somehow ends up piecing things together in a not all together organised way. I like that about people. He's had a wife and a couple of significant others which has resulted in a disparate family so he wanders, continually searching for home. On his travels he stumbles upon Tracy, a retired police woman, now a player in shopping centre security, Courtney, a young girl being dragged through life, Tilly, an elderly actress about to be killed off and The Ambassador, a dog who needs rescuing. All the characters are drifting in one way or another which inevitably leads to collisions on the way, some fortuitous and others regrettable.

The main plot of the book follows Tracy who as a young PC was involved with an event 35 years previously. This event links so much of the plot together and is narrated as flashbacks through the novel, revealing just enough to keep the suspense going. I did get ever so slightly tangled up with the characters at one point (for heavens sake, there aren't that many! Must have been exhausted brain) but soon worked it out again.

The gentle pace and simple style of Atkinson's writing absorbs you into their world, and I found it was incredibly easy read, even after an exhausting day. There is a smattering of humour, enough background to connect with how Brodie got to where he is today (see Case Histories etc. for the preceding books featuring Brodie) and a convincing easy to follow plot to keep the pages turning. I suspect there will be another novel because there was one aspect of the story line left hanging which I felt should have been concluded, so I eagerly anticipate the next instalment.

I would definitely recommend this book for an easy, entertaining mystery without a hint of gore.

Now head over to Dulwich Divorcee to see what other readers thought of it.


  1. Great review. I love the picture accompanying it. Looks like my perfect evening!

  2. So impressed that you got it for 75p! What a brilliant review, I think you've captured it ... I've put together everyone's thoughts in one post and linked back to you, and revealed next month's book, (hope you approve!) pop over when you've got a minute x


Oooh, I do like a good comment :-)