Tracy, a retired police detective, rescues a small child; Jackson Brodie, a detective, rescues an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.
Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective - a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other - or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.
Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective of novels such as Case Histories, is embarking on a different sort of rescue - that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.
STARTED EARLY, TOOK MY DOG
By Kate Atkinson
1975: April 9
Leeds: "Motorway City of the Seventies." A proud slogan. No irony intended. Gaslight still flickering on some streets. Life in a northern town.
The Bay City Rollers at number one. IRA bombs all over the country. Margaret Thatcher is the new leader of the Conservative Party. At the beginning of the month, in Albuquerque, Bill Gates founds what will become Microsoft. At the end of the month Saigon falls to the North Vietnamese army. The Black and White Minstrel Show is still on television, John Poulson is still in jail. Bye Bye Baby, Baby Goodbye. In the middle of it all, Tracy Waterhouse was only concerned with the hole in one of the toes of her tights.
It was growing bigger with every step she took. They were new on this morning as well.
They had been told that it was on the fifteenth floor of the flats in Lovell Park and - of course - the lifts were broken. The two PCs huffed and puffed their way up the stairs...
The prolific Kate Atkinson once again shows herself to be a master at crafting literary mystery with Started Early, Took My Dog. Unlike many mysteries, where the action is plot-driven (characters conveniently appear to carry things along), Kate Atkinson uses murder and mayhem to flesh out her characters and the dastardly crimes that define who they are and what they're capable of.
(Reviewed by BJ Nathan Hegedus).
Full Review (699 words).
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