One Good Turn – Kate Atkinson

February 18, 2017

Kate Atkinson’s private investigator hero, Jackson Brodie, returns in the enticing adventure One Good Turn, published by Little, Brown and Company, copyright 2006.


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Jackson Brodie is on the scene when a small car accident occurs and the automobile owners are sent into a case of extreme road rage.  One of the drivers brings  a baseball bat out of his car and hits the other driver on his temple, knocking him unconscious.  Brodie comes to the aid of this unfortunate man and accompanies him to the hospital.  The hospital staff releases this man, a writer named Paul Bradley, into Brodie’s custody with a warning that he should be watched closely and given plenty of rest.


Brodie, who is an ex-cop, ex-private detective, and recently, through one of his client’s generous compensations, a millionaire, takes care of this unfortunate victim of senseless violence.  As a rule Brodie no longer involved himself in other peoples’ affairs as he himself had much to deal with now that he was an unemployed millionaire and he wanted to find a compatible caring woman to spend his life with.

Yet for some reason he felt compelled to see to the well being of this beaten up man.  This developing relationship becomes more and more complicated as time introduces Brodie to more of this accomplished writer’s acquaintances, friends, and family and the fact that he carries a concealed pistol in the baggage that was rescued from the scene.  He comes to suspect that Bradley is also connected to the Russian Mafia affiliates who may have inserted him into a network of information-gathering spies.

Brodie finds himself drawn to investigate the people Paul Bradley associated with and possibly passed classified information to foreign intelligence agencies through.  During his inquiries the people he contacts range from the wife of an unscrupulous real estate tycoon, a washed up comedian, a successful crime novelist, a very mysterious Russian woman, and a female police detective who all have a secret agenda to profit from this haphazard example of road rage.  What they fail to realize is Jackson Brodie is an intelligent investigator and has an instinct that leads him to the right place at the wrong time, and sometimes the wrong place at the right time.

Kate Atkinson is an extraordinary novelist whom I admire and highly recommend, and whose plots surprise and delight me while she keeps me turning the pages.  I do have a problem keeping abreast of her seemingly unlimited knowledge of the English Language.  She incorporates vocabulary that I have rarely, or possibly never, read before.  So I advise that you keep a dictionary handy, or google search close at hand.

Literally, Paul

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