Thursday, August 12, 2010

Case Histories - A book review


It took me unusually long time, nearly 6 days to finish this novel – Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. The read was quite complicated for a difference. Similar to the other books, I lend from library, this story is also set on the land of English. The author presents us in the first 40 pages with 3 case histories. Case 1: A 4 year old girl – Oliver Land goes missing from the tent where she was sleeping with her sister. Case 2: A 27 year old young lady – Laura Wyre is murdered brutally on the day she was helping at her father’s office. Case 3: A new mother – Michelle kills her husband with a garden axe out of frustration created when her husband wakes up the sleeping kid. Michelle lands up in prison and the kid goes missing. These 3 incidents take place at different time periods. Nearly after a decade, army person turned private detective – Jackson handles these 3 cases. The whole story is about closing these 3 cases and finding out the culprits behind the 3 tragedies.

I have read many mystery stories where a single mystery is solved. But this is the first time where I get to read 3 mysteries getting unfolded in the same book as pages turn one by one. Usually the curiosity of finding the culprit lies within me if I am reading. But more than the eagerness, it was the brilliance of the author which enthralls me much. How difficult it would have been to link 3 stories into one. In the course of finding the murderer/kidnappers and the reason behind it, Jackson’s personal life is also narrated to us. The agony which he faces after his divorce and a painful past which keeps tormenting him now and then is also beautifully put in words in between these 3 case histories. I would rather consider it as 4 stories in a 500 – page book.

Even when I was in the final chapter and when the author has finished revealing the hidden facts, I was left in a state of thought as to who killed whom and how did Jackson become successful in his feat. After a while or rereading a few lines from the chapters before, I got satisfied with the theme. It was a complete pleasure in finding such different genres of books and the time to read them till late night. It was nearly 12 when I finished it yesterday. {I am OK compared to my mom and sister who sit till 3 to finish a book}.

I don’t want to write about the minute details and compile a list of the characters of the book as I always write in other reviews. The intention behind each case history is quite simple, but the way it was presented to us is like a simple fruit salad with 4 fruits presented in a very beautiful bowl and presented with a surprising and finger licking topping. The read was tiresome though but will remain in my memory for a long time. Do grab it for sure if you come across this book.

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