Trouble is, Kate Atkinson is so gripping. She has a wonderful way with atmosphere, with weaving stories in such a way that though you suspect there will be connections you can't for the life of you see where they lie ... I'm hooked. I'm getting to know Jackson, the retired cop, retired soldier, dispirited investigator with the sad history that's revealed only piecemeal - and I'm beginning to ache with his toothache, sympathise with his undramatic acceptance of the misfortunes that keep careering through his life.
I've always loved a good detective novel, ever since I found Edmund Crispin and Michael Innes in my parents' bookshelves, going on through Dorothy Sayers to P.D. James. My tastes tend to the literary, so Agatha Christie was never a starter, not even when I was fifteen. Now I've discovered a new seam to mine, and I'll have to resist starting another one right away. Case Histories is a complex, moving tragi-comedy, so if you've got a holiday coming up, or a duvet day, or simply a nice box of chocs waiting for your attention, go for it.
Enjoy the guilt!