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One Good Turn Hardcover – 1 Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (1 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385608004
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385608008
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.7 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 292,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Her latest novel Life After Life was shortlisted for the Women's (formerly Orange) Prize, the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Award, and won the 2014 Costa Novel Award. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.

Photography © Martin Hunter

Product Description


'Atkinson, while having fun with the murder-mystery genre, slyly slips us a muted tragedy.' -- Sunday Telegraph

'Her gift is in presenting this unnerving and subversive philosophy as a dazzling form of entertainment.' -- Sunday Times

'High suspense and rattling pace…charged with adrenalin and a spry humour.' -- Financial Times

'Kate Atkinson is an absolute must read. I love everything she writes.' -- Harlan Coben

'Very funny...Manages to be that rarest of things – a good literary novel and a cracking holiday read.’ -- Observer

An absolute joy to read...Atkinson’s wry, unvanquished characters, her swooping, savvy, sarcastic prose and authorial joie de vivre.' -- Guardian

Book Description

Kate Atkinson's brilliant novel, bringing back Jackson Brodie from the bestselling Case Histories. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By David Price on 12 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a relative newcomer to Ms Atkinson's work I had no 'previous' to base any initial attitudes when I started reading 'One Good Turn' but inside a matter of minutes she had me as a fan of both her style, her characterisations and her superb ear for dialogue.
I just love her work and would urge any reader who:

a. likes this type of novel that tells a great story,
b. enjoys laughing out loud,
c. is prepared when doing b., at 2 in the morning, to risk and endure a severe rollicking from a woken spouse...,

to try her out.
For me, a pensioner living in France on a rubbish pension made worse by the exchange rate, there are no regrets about buying all her works. I'll cut down on wine but not on books that I enjoy so much that I can reread them a month later with as much or more pleasure.
Keep on writin' Kate.
David Price
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135 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 12 Dec. 2006
Format: Hardcover
In a book that is more fun than any other book I've read all year, Kate Atkinson creates a series of bizarre characters, all involved with murder--either planning it, committing it, or trying to avoid it. Many seemingly unrelated characters, involved in several seemingly unrelated plot lines, make their appearance in the first fifty pages. During the four days in which the novel takes place, however, these characters and plots start to overlap and eventually come together, until, at the end, the reader is smiling with pleasure at the brilliant plotting and ironic twists of fate--full of admiration for Atkinson's skill in bringing it all together with such panache.

In the main plot line, an Edinburgh automobile accident leaves "Paul Bradley," a mysterious man and innocent victim, at the mercy of a crazed, baseball bat-wielding Honda driver. A witness, Martin Canning, the timid writer of Nina Riley mystery stories, reacts instinctively to the impending carnage, hurling his laptop at the Honda driver and saving "Paul Bradley" from certain death. A second set of characters revolves around Graham Hatter, the wealthy developer of Hatter Homes, who is in trouble for bribery, money laundering, and fraud in the building of cheap tract houses.

Jackson Brodie, former cop and private investigator, in Edinburgh for a drama festival in which his girlfriend is involved, introduces a third plot line when he discovers a woman's body on the rocks beside the ocean. It washes out to sea, nearly drowning him when he tries to retrieve it. Sgt. Louise Monroe, who lives in one of the Hatter Homes and whose son is a petty thief, is assigned to investigate the report of the body Brodie claims to have seen.
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50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By M. Todd on 11 Jan. 2007
Format: Hardcover
A fantastic murder mystery that keeps you guessing throughout. It follows the story of Jackson Brodie, an ex-policeman and ex-private investiagtor. He's in edinburgh for the festival and stumbles across a road rage incident and two murders, all closely connected. Various wonderful characters appear, each chapter written from a different viewpoint. It is a very intricate mystery with plot twists everywhere. Incredibly well written and a fantastic plot. I highly recommend reading case histories, the first book, as it will provide so much background to the characters. It's a bit of fun to read, not an average crime novel, it's more upbeat. I fully intend to read all of the author's other books she is fantastic. Highly recommended.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Shaw TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
A superb read, One Good Turn revisits the life of poor beleaguered Jackson Brodie, who has bad luck with women and a penchant for getting in the way of some very bad people. The novel starts with an incident of road rage and goes on to a drowned girl, the murder of an unpleasant comedian and a dog which has a convenient heart attack. Along the way Jackson gets beaten up (twice), encounters a beautiful knife-wielding Russian girl, and at one point ends up in a police cell accused of assault.

One of Kate Atkinson's strongest skills is her creation of believable characters and here she excels, especially with Gloria, wife of Graham Hatter, builder and murky entrepreneur, whose business empire is about to crumble. Gloria is wonderfully bitter, funny and ruthlessly Machiavellian, while also appearing to be quite ordinary.

The setting is Edinburgh, in the midst of the Festival with the streets thronged with jugglers, fire-eaters and people eager to be entertained - and some get more than they bargained for. The plot is satisfactorily labyrinthine, the pace is hectic and the writing is beautifully poised and artfully witty. Atkinson charges sentences with a kind of graphic shorthand, for example: "Jackson potholed out of the building" which aptly describes a cellar rehearsal room in the depths of a theatre with its crooked corridors and stairwells, with that one-word, exquisite metaphor.

One Good Turn is alternately playful and light in tone yet deliciously melancholy and dark, as required. Atkinson has made a shrewd move into the crime genre, and she has brought her considerable talents with her.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sukie VINE VOICE on 9 Sept. 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a follow-up to the brilliant Case Histories - Jackson Brodie is still with Julia and they've come to the Edinburgh Festival for a show Julia's involved in. Jackson witnesses a violent crime, which is the catalyst for him to become plunged into drama after drama with a very eclectic bunch of characters.

I think Kate Atkinson writes very well - she has a knowing, humourous tone for the most part, but packs an emotional punch where it's needed. As you'd expect from one of her novels, there are umpteen links between all the characters, twists and turns, and all sorts of surprises. The Russian doll motif she uses throughout the novel is very effective.

It all gets a bit silly at the end - I felt she just over-egged the pudding and the story became that bit too implausible. For that reason alone, it didn't get five stars from me. It's still a good, highly enjoyable read, though.
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