Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson

Started Early, Took My DogReviewed by Patricia Reid

Reading Started Early, Took My Dog is a little like working a giant, complicated jigsaw puzzle. There is a neglected dog who finds a home and a neglected child who finds a new mother.

Jackson Brodie, private investigator, is on a mission to find the biological parents of his client, Hope Masters, who was adopted and moved with her new parents to New Zealand when she was a child. Brodie picks up a dog named The Ambassador when he catches the dog’s owner mistreating the dog. Jackson saves the dog and The Ambassador travels with Brodie as Brodie works to discover what happened in Hope’s past and how her adoption came about.

Matilda Squires, whose nickname is Tilly, plays the mother of Collier, the star of a popular TV series. Tilly is in the early stages of dementia and is about to be killed off on the TV show. Just where Tilly fits into the puzzle is a little difficult to figure out but Tilly is a likeable character.

Tracy Waterhouse is a retired police detective who was one of the first on the scene in a murder that happened in 1975. The story jumps from the present time to 1975 and back again. Tracy has been haunted for years by the death of the prostitute and the fact that the prostitute’s child had been in the apartment with the dead mother for weeks. When the present day Tracy sees an opportunity to save another child she jumps on it even though buying a child is against the law.

Linda Pollister is a social worker who fits into the present day as well as the period in 1975. She plays a small but important part in solving the puzzle.

When all the puzzle pieces come together, the truth of what happened back in 1975 when a prostitute is found murdered is revealed, and the book ends with a satisfying and surprising conclusion.

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