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One Good Turn: A Novel Paperback – 10 Sep 2007

3.9 out of 5 stars 225 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (10 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316012823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316012829
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 3.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (225 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,519,984 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Praise for "Case Histories":
"Not just the best novel I have read this year but the best mystery of the decade. This is the kind of book you shove in people's faces, saying 'You gotta read this!'"
-Stephen King, "Entertainment Weekly"
"To read it is to enter a hall of mirrors. . .Part complex family drama, part mystery, it winds up having more depth and vividness than ordinary thrillers and more thrills than ordinary fiction. . .A wonderfully tricky book."
-"New York Times"
"An astonishingly complex and moving literary detective story that made me sob but also snort with laughter. It's the sort of novel you have to start rereading the minute you've finished it."
-"Guardian"

" 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)
Praise for "Case Histories":
" Not just the best novel I have read this year but the best mystery of the decade. This is the kind of book you shove in people's faces, saying ' You gotta read this!' "
- Stephen King, "Entertainment Weekly"
" To read it is to enter a hall of mirrors. . .Part complex familydrama, part mystery, it winds up having more depth and vividness than ordinary thrillers and more thrills than ordinary fiction. . .A wonderfully tricky book."
- "New York Times"
" An astonishingly complex and moving literary detective story that made me sob but also snort with laughter. It's the sort of novel you have to start rereading the minute you've finished it."
- "Guardian"

"From the Hardcover edition."

"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. . . . ÝOne Good Turn is¨ that rarest of things-a good literary novel and a cracking holiday read."
-"Observer" (UK)
Praise for "Case Histories":
"Not just the best novel I have read this year but the best mystery of the decade. This is the kind of book you shove in people's faces, saying 'You gotta read this!'"
-Stephen King, "Entertainment Weekly"
"To read it is to enter a hall of mirrors. . .Part complex family drama, part mystery, it winds up having more depth and vividness than ordinary thrillers and more thrills than ordinary fiction. . .A wonderfullytricky book."
-"New York Times"
"An astonishingly complex and moving literary detective story that made me sob but also snort with laughter. It's the sort of novel you have to start rereading the minute you've finished it."
-"Guardian"

"From the Hardcover edition."

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'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)
"
""Itdoesn'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. . . . ÝOne Good Turn is¨ that rarest of things-a good literary novel and a cracking holiday read."
-"Observer" (UK)
Praise for "Case Histories":
"Not just the best novel I have read this year but the best mystery of the decade. This is the kind of book you shove in people's faces, saying 'You gotta read this!'"
-Stephen King, "Entertainment Weekly"
"To read it is to enter a hall of mirrors. . .Part complex family drama, part mystery, it winds up having more depth and vividness than ordinary thrillers and more thrills than ordinary fiction. . .A wonderfully tricky book."
-"New York Times"
"An astonishingly complex and moving literary detective story that made me sob but also snort with laughter. It's the sort of novel you have to start rereading the minute you've finished it."
-"Guardian"

"From the Hardcover edition."

Book Description

Now dramatised as Case Histories, a major 6-part BBC1 crime drama series with Jason Isaacs as Jackson Brodie. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

See all Product Description

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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
(...)
FRANCE
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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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Format: Hardcover
I bought this as soon as it came out as I loved Case Histories. Yes, it's different in style to her previous books such as Behind the Scenes at the Museum, but that doesn't mean it's not as good. There are some very witty moments, but it's also an intriguing detective story that really does keep you gripped. Jackson Brodie is stubborn, cynical, frustrated and dogged and yet somehow vulnerable and almost loveable here as he struggles with the fact that he is no longer a police officer and therefore not in charge of the investigation and has to come to terms with single-mum officer Louise running the show (another cynical character, but I warmed to her as I got to know her). Gloria Hatter is a wonderful creation - her life is as dull as one of Graham's homes but still I found myself growing quite fond of her, too - some of her reflections and actions are pure Victoria Wood though. The insights into an author (Martin's) life are interesting - wonder how many of these little neuroses Ms Atkinson herself has, such as looking up reader reviews on Amazon...!

It's a great story with plenty of twists and turns and I'd really recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Have you ever seen a painting that has so much detail in the background that the main subject becomes almost invisible to your eye? Have you ever listened to a piece of music that has so many intricate harmonies that the melody becomes obscured? Either way, try to imagine the equivalent book. You now have the base format of One Good Turn in your mind. This story has a brilliant plot, but it takes quite a while to get past all of the memories of the characters and their friends and relations. I would encourage you to persevere, because you will eventually uncover a crime thriller with more twists and turns than the back streets of Edinburgh.

Beginning with a road rage incident that unfolds before an assortment of people queuing for an Edinburgh Festival event, the plot unravels the connections between these people and a millionaire property developer who is lying, close to death, in the intensive care unit of Edinburgh Infirmary. How he got there is for you to read.

There is a good balance of horrific and comical moments in this book. There are also some neat little thought provokers such as that which stems out of the cliché, "as dead as a doornail." Why a doornail? Can death be comparative? How could anything be deader than anything else? Et cetera.

Eventually, the backgrounds are all complete, the strands of the plot are all neatly entwined and there are no remaining loose ends.

Kate Atkinson has a unique style, which she applies to this over-subscribed genre. I like the style and I enjoyed the story, so I would recommend it to most of my friends. There are a few who would not enjoy it, as it is a matter of taste. To the reader of this review, I would say, just try it.
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