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Jackson Brodie Books In Order

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Publication Order of Jackson Brodie Books

Case Histories (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
One Good Turn (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
When Will There Be Good News? (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Started Early, Took My Dog (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Big Sky (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Death at the Sign of the Rook (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

About Jackson Brodie:

English author Kate Atkinson had already established quite a reputation for herself before starting The Jackson Brodie series in the year 2004; her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum that was published in the year 1997, won the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, and each of her publications since have been both bestsellers and critically acclaimed.

Popular among Atkinson’s works is The Jackson Brodie series, which began with Case Histories and features the ex-cop turned private investigator archetype, in this case named Jackson Brodie. To date, there are four novels in the series—although “series” is almost inappropriate, because each of the novels can be read separately without the reader losing much from the experience. It’s referred to as a series, nonetheless, because they all revolve around Jackson Brodie and, according to Kate Atkinson, are best enjoyed in the order of their publication.

The four novels in The Jackson Brodie series are: Case Histories in 2004, One Good Turn in 2006, When Will There Be Good News? in 2008 and lastly, Started Early, Took My Dog published in the year 2010.


Case Histories introduces an unhappy Jackson Brodie suffering through a particularly sultry Cambridge summer. He’s unhappy with the heat, with Cambridge itself, and with himself—more particularly his failed marriage, among other things.

Over the course of the book he struggles to solve three very cold cases. The first case, nearly thirty years old at the start of the novel’s plot, is of a missing girl; the second case is of a young office worker who seems to have fallen prey to the random attack of a maniac; and the third case is of a woman trapped between a needy infant and a demanding husband—until she finds an escape, a bloody escape…

One Good Turn is the sequel, and takes place two years after the conclusion of Case Histories. This time the setting is in Edinburgh, although again in the summer, with Jackson Brodie and his (occasional) girlfriend. Jackson again finds himself in the middle of a series of mysteries that somehow connect when he witnesses a man who becomes a victim of an unnecessarily brutal case of road rage.

As Jackson Brodie struggles to untangle the web of events, a cast of (seemingly unconnected) characters emerges—including a shy but successful crime novelist, the wife of a real estate tycoon, and a local female police detective.

When Will There Be Good News? takes up the recurring setting of summertime as well as the recurring idea of events that seem to be unconnected when, in actuality, they are.

Thirty years before the beginning of this novel, a six-year old girl accidentally witnesses a brutal crime—and now the man who was convicted of that crime is released from prison…

Young Reggie works as a nanny and couldn’t be more excited to go home and relax in front of the TV—when he hears a sound that makes him glad that he’s made a point to be prepared for any emergency…

Meanwhile, Chief Inspector Louise Monroe is searching for a missing person—not knowing that she’ll soon run into her old friend Jackson Brodie…

The fourth novel in The Jackson Brodie Series—Started Early, Took My Dog—deviates slightly from the others in the series in that this time Jackson Brodie himself witness the catalyst event that sets the big chain of events in order.

It all starts in Merrion Centre in Leeds with Tilly, an elderly actress, Jackson Brodie, and retired cop turned security chief Tracy Waterhouse—when Tracy “buys” a clearly abused child from a criminal.

In this novel, Atkinson again tackles the themes of confusion and identity while the readers follow the on-and-off-confused Tracy and Jackson.

For The Jackson Brodie series as a whole: whether they enjoyed or hated it, all its readers seem to agree that Atkinson’s style and structure of writing these novels is more complex and rather different from what is usually expected from a mystery/crime novel. Although the crimes and the progression of the mystery is an important part of each novel, Atkinson gives a lot more attention to her characters—to their thoughts, their lives, their choices, etc.—than is usually done in mystery / crime novels.

Atkinson also slips in and out of a more stream of consciousness-like narration, which can annoy some readers.


In 2011, BBC began airing a TV adaptation of The Jackson Brodie series novels, and is currently waiting to air series [season] 3. Actor Jason Isaacs, famous for playing the infamous Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter movie adaptations, plays Jackson Brodie.

Since its premiere, the show has been nominated for three awards—the 2013 BAFTA Scotland Award for Best TV Drama and for Best Director, as well as for an Emmy in 2012 (for Best Performance by an Actor (in the U.K.). The show has also won two other awards: the 2011 BAFTA Scotland Award for Best TV Drama, and the 2011 Satellite Award for Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for TV (for Jason Isaacs).

Each series [season] of the show has three episodes, and each episode is about an hour in length. Each series also breaks down one of The Jackson Brodie series novels; for example, the three episodes of series 1 cover the events in book #1, Case Histories.

As with the novels, those who have watched the TV series are divided into those who loved it and those who hated it. However, many of those who hated it went into the show expecting a procedural crime drama (like Criminal Minds or Law and Order)—but Case Histories is not that kind of show. The stories, as they are in the novels are much more character driven and focus more on developing the characters than on making the mystery blow your mind. A majority of those who have watched the show expecting more characterization and drama and less criminal procedurals seem to have enjoyed it a lot more than those who expect the vice versa.

All in all, The Jackson Brodie series is an excellent look at characterization and an example of how mysteries can also have strong character depth as well as mind-boggling puzzles.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Jackson Brodie

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