Uncategorizable, unputdownable, Atkinson's books are like Agatha Christie mysteries that have burst at the seams they're taut and intricate but also messy and funny and full of life. As a little girl Joanna Hunter watched her mother and sister (and dog) be stabbed to death by a stranger. Thirty years later, just as the killer is being released from prison, Joanna disappears. It would be incorrect to say that Atkinson's two sleuths, Jackson and Louise, spring to the rescue more like they're roped into the rescue by chance and their own cynical, world-weary good-heartedness. And it's on chance and luck as much as anything that the final mystery turns.