I read one other Kate Atkinson novel, One Good Turn, back in 2007 after it appeared on the New York Times’ “100 Notable Books” list. I thought it was a fantastic book and I have been meaning for years to read another by Atkinson. Case Histories actually precedes One Good Turn by a number of years and is the first of three books about the same private investigator, though it is not nearly as good.
Case Histories revolves around the disappearance or murder of three unrelated people over a span of 24 years. Each of the first three chapters tells the beginning of a case, but none of them are resolved for the reader until the closing pages of the book. In between, we find out about the effects of each case on those who were left behind: the families of the victims. Though I liked the way this novel is structured, the stories did not grab me as much as I had hoped. The characters felt superficial and I wasn’t in any rush to complete the book to find out what happened to them or the victims. The way Atkinson tells the story is interesting but the story itself left much to be desired. In the end, this is a subpar mystery novel which fell far short of what I was expecting.