Started Early, Took My Dog, By Kate Atkinson

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The private detective Jackson Brodie was first introduced to us in Case Histories. Here, the semi-retired, slightly shambolic PI remerges for a fourth time.

Just as in Case Histories, Atkinson reveals characters' inner lives with ease and deftly weaves together a warren of mysteries which spark other mysteries.

The theme is one of disappearing women. Brodie begins in search for the real parents of an adoptee, but his path crosses with a retired WPC who has absconded with another woman's child, and then crosses again with an unsolved case involving a murdered prostitute and missing child. It could have been horribly labyrinthine, but Atkinson keeps a masterful rein on it all.