This is apparently the final volume of the Jackson Brodie series. I have in my queue the third book, which I have not read in order, stupid me, but will soon.
This was terrific. Retired Police officer Tracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life – 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 detective of the previous novels in the series, is embarking on a different sort of rescue – that of an abused dog.
Brodie is traveling the country trying to find the origins of a women in New Zealand who was adopted from the UK as a two-year-old, and has hired him to find her ancestry, so to speak. That origin seems to hinge on a 30-year-old murder of a prostitute, in which a young child was discovered having been locked in the apartment with his dead mother for three weeks, and which Tracey was involved in as a young cop. Along his travels, Brodie happens upon a guy being mean to a sweet little dog. Brodie steps in, and now owns a dog, which he takes with him in a duffle bag. Now we have Tracey, traveling with the little four year old (whom she bought from a woman, and no one is sure that woman is even the mother of this kiddle diddle, and and we have Jackson traveling with his newly acquired canine. Interesting thought here. In the Tarot deck, the No. 1 card is The Fool, usually portrayed carrying a bundle on a stick, with a little dog gamboling at his side, about to step off a cliff as his gaze is directed elsewhere. He represents naivety and innocence, and the dog is said to represent protection, which as it turns out, comes to pass in the story.
So, dog, child, cats, wives, how many were going to St. Ives. Another great puzzle which all comes together at the very end, in true Atkinson style.