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Jackson Brodie’s case history

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Get to know Kate Atkinson’s lovable rogue investigator.

He’s tough when it counts, empathetic to a fault and, if the BBC’s Case Histories series star Jason Isaacs is anything to go by, uncompromisingly good looking. An ex-soldier and cop, investigating marital infidelity has become his bread and butter, with the odd lost pet pursuit thrown in for good measure. If he has it his way, the future will hold plenty of lazy French-cafe days, and his past will remain in the rear-view. Here we break down Jackson Brodie’s case history to date. Hop in and out wherever you please, or ride the roller-coaster from the beginning.

Case Histories (2004)
A jealous husband suspects his wife of cheating. Two spinster sisters make a shocking find. A solicitor investigates an old murder. A nurse has lost her niece; a widow, her cats. Jackson Brodie has never felt at home in Cambridge, and has a failed marriage to prove it. Surrounded by death, intrigue and misfortune, at 45 years old his own life is suddenly and sharply in focus. Full of suspense and heartbreak, Case Histories is where Atkinson introduced the world to her fresh, intelligent and deeply human approach to crime fiction.

One Good Turn (2006)
People queuing for a lunchtime Edinburgh Festival show witness a road-rage incident, which changes the lives of everyone involved. Brodie is one of the innocent bystanders – until he becomes a suspect. In One Good Turn Atkinson takes the masterful plotting of Case Histories a step further. Her Dickensian cast of characters are all looking for love or money and find it in surprising places. And like a set of Russian dolls, each thread of the narrative reveals itself to be inexorably related to the last.

When Will There Be Good News? (2008)
Six-year-old Joanna Mason witnesses an appalling crime. Thirty years later the man convicted is released from prison. Sixteen-year-old Reggie works as a nanny for a GP who has gone missing, yet nobody else seems worried. Detective Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is also looking for a missing person, unaware that hurtling towards her is an old friend – Jackson Brodie – himself on a journey that becomes fatally interrupted.

Started Early, Took My Dog (2010)
It’s a day like any other for security chief Tracy Waterhouse, until she makes a purchase she hadn't bargained for. One moment of madness is all it takes for Tracy’s humdrum world to be turned upside down. Witnesses to Tracy’s Faustian exchange are Tilly, an elderly actor teetering on the brink of her own disaster, and Jackson Brodie, returning to his home county in search of someone else’s roots. All three learn that the past is never history and that no good deed goes unpunished.

Big Sky (2019)
Brodie has relocated to a quiet seaside village, in the occasional company of his recalcitrant teenage son and an ageing Labrador. It’s picturesque, but there’s something dark lurking behind the scenes. His current investigation, gathering proof of an unfaithful husband for his suspicious wife, is fairly standard-issue. But a chance encounter with a desperate man on a crumbling cliff leads him into a sinister network – and across the path of someone from his past.