Best known for her Jackson Brodie series of detective novels, which were adapted into the BBC television series Case Histories, Kate Atkinson is the author of eleven novels, two plays, and a collection of short stories. Her literary awards include the 1995 Whitbread Award for a first novel and book of the year for Behind the Scenes at the Museum and the Costa Book Awards for best novel in 2013 and 2015 for Life after Life and A God in Ruins.
In this first book-length study of Atkinson's literary career, Brian Diemert examines the evolution of her novels: the playful and self-conscious work of the 1990s, the detective series novels, the books that examine Britain's history and its legacy of conflict and trauma related to World War II, and the most recent return to mystery. Diemert identifies her pattern of weaving multiple narrative strands into intricate plots that create the mystery at the heart of all her tales. He traces her development of narrative technique and thematic preoccupations of women's vulnerability within patriarchy and the complications of absent or disengaged parents. While her fiction is marked by allusiveness and humor, it remains profound and often touching as it explores the myths of British history and, particularly, women's lives.