Kate Atkinson's books are often puzzles, even up to the last page, but unlike my previous experience with her writing, Started Early, Took My Dog left me more bewildered than satisfied upon finishing.As usual, Atkinson does not shy away from gruesome subjects. As with her previous novels in the series, Started Early, Took My Dog involves a cold case. A woman was murdered in a flat, then locked in from the outside. The woman's toddler was still inside the flat. The body was not discovered for several weeks.This case, one of her earliest, had a profound effect on WPC Tracy Waterhouse. Decades later, retired from the force, she runs security for a local mall. When she sees a young child being mistreated, she snaps, and offers to buy the child for three thousand pounds. The mother gleefully accepts.And so, all of Tracy's life changes in that instant, and the change refracts, as changes tend to do in Atkinson's novels, into the lives of others that Tracy never meets.The point of view work remains up to Atkinson's standards, from Tracy's guilt-ridden obsessions over keeping her crime hidden to Tilly's slide into dementia, tinged with humour and pathos. Atkinson keeps all of the threads interweaving with great skill, much more than I would expect most authors to possess, but the loose ends she uncharacteristically leaves have me wondering if there will come a sort of second half to this story, refracting it from even more angles.This review also appears at Boxes of Paper.