COINCIDENCE plays quite a large part in Kate Atkinson’s latest novel, When Will There Be Good News?, which once again features laconic ex-soldier, ex-policeman, ex-private eye Jackson Brodie, but such is Atkinson’s skill that she escapes any sense of contrivance.

While the book could loosely be termed a crime novel, it is a great deal more – yes, there are crimes and yes, there are policemen and Brodie himself is persuaded to reprise his role as private eye briefly, but this is a novel that’s far more than a whodunnit or even a whydunnit.

It’s about love and longing, marriage and murder, unresolved relationships and the ever-resonating impact of loss and grief.

In the eye of the storm is 16-year-old Reggie Chase, mother’s help to the motherless Dr Joanna Hunter, who becomes increasingly frantic when her employer vanishes and no one takes her concerns seriously. Reggie has lost her own mother and won’t let it happen again.

An intricate network of coincidences and fate is expertly woven by Atkinson as she creates a novel teeming with characters and incident – from shocking murders to a fatal train crash, arson attacks and a dark underworld of drug-dealing – without ever losing control of a page-turning plot in which everyone is somehow connected.

Where Kate Atkinson parts company with the conventional crime novel is in creating characters who think, feel and act as ambiguously as people do, pragmatically, realistically and, occasionally, unexpectedly. And, like life, there’s a degree of resolution but tempered with a sense of other things left unresolved.

About the author

Kate Atkinson was born in York and now lives in Edinburgh. Her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award.

She is the author of a collection of short stories, Not the End of the World, and of the critically acclaimed novels Human Croquet, Emotionally Weird, Case Histories, and One Good Turn.

Case Histories introduced her readers to Jackson Brodie, former police inspector turned private investigator, and won the Saltire Book of the Year Award and the Prix Westminster.

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When Will There Be Good News? £7.99, offer price, £7.50, post and packing free. To order, call the Hereford Times Bookshop on 08430 6000399 or send your cheque or postal order made payable to Hereford Times Bookshop to: Hereford Times Bookshop, PO Box 60, Helston, TR13 0TP. Allow 7-10 working days for delivery. Titles supplied subject to availability. Order online at