‘Killing someone is easy.
Hiding the body, now that’s usually the hard part.
That’s how you get caught’
– The Thursday Murder Club
[ About the Book ]
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.
But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?
[ My Review ]
The Thursday Murder Club by TV presenter Richard Osman was published September 5th with Viking and is the first book in a new series. It has received huge acclaim from many quarters with Val McDermid describing it as ‘a warm, wise and witty warning never to underestimate the elderly’
The Thursday Murder Club is based in the very plush retirement village of Coopers Chase where four friends meet weekly to discuss old crime cases that were never solved. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron are all fighting fit and not ready to relax into an aging lifestyle just yet. To keep their grey matter in order, they swap titbits of information relating to these past cases, each bringing their own expertise to the table. An original member of the group, Penny, has been moved to a dependent ward with a decline in her health, making Joyce the latest addition to this motley crew of amateur investigators. It was Penny, an ex policewoman, who was the founding member of the group and Elizabeth still talks to Penny daily, filling her in on the activities of the club. Can Penny hear Elizabeth? Who knows but the relationship between the two of them is very gentle, very touching. The tale is woven around Joyce’s transcripts into her diary which are interspersed throughout the book and provide some wonderful insights into the feelings and the activities of the residents.
Miss Marple springs to mind when reading The Thursday Murder Club, except this time we have four characters with a similar curiosity. When the body of the owner of the residence, a man with a dubious past, one Ian Ventham, is discovered bludgeoned to death in his own home, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron are immediately on the case.
Elizabeth is a canny individual with a furtive history that suggests a rather colourful past, possibly a secret agent. She is living in the village with her husband Stephen. His condition is on the decline but Elizabeth refuses to accept this. Joyce is an ex-nurse who is there with her daughter’s encouragement (although it does appear that her daughter is quite happy to have her mother at a slightly inaccessible distance from her). Ibrahim is a psychologist who still has old clients who call, but is ‘almost’ retired and Ron is an ex trade-unionist, one well known throughout the UK for his passion on the picket lines. Now it is his son Jason, who is stealing the limelight, as an ex-boxer not ready to retire from the public yet.
These four septuagenarians are a force to be reckoned with. When the local police come calling, they are unprepared for the manipulation that awaits them. PC Donna De Frietas and DCI Chris Hudson are a wonderful pairing and they soon come to realise that the members of The Thursday Murder Club are always one step ahead of them. (Yes suspending belief is a necessary requirement)
There are a number of mysterious happening in and around Coopers Chase as the chapters unfold, but all are scrutinised, dissected and neatly tied up in a bow as the story progresses.
The Thursday Murder Club really is a gentle, entertaining and cosy read, the perfect ‘curl-up-by-the-fire’ on a cold Winter’s evening book. Much of the crime fiction that is currently on the market is fast-paced, heart-pounding and, ofttimes, quite gruesome. You will not find this here in Richard Osman’s first outing. The Thursday Murder Club is a real pleasure to read. It provides much-needed light reading during these very strange days. It is a return to the Agatha Christie style of crime fiction that will be very welcome on the bedside locker of many a reader.
Richard Osman also highlights age and the expectations that our society has of the older population. As is the case here, every person, no matter their age, has experience and opinions and is deserving of the respect of the world at large. I can only hope to have the stamina and the determination of this dynamic bunch when I’m older. Illness, grief, tragedy and death are all handled very poignantly, with some very moving goodbyes but none take from the overall humour and pleasure of this warm hug of a book.
The Thursday Murder Club is a delightful and light-hearted mystery. It is a very enjoyable first book in a new series that I am guessing will be very popular across all age-groups. There is a deliberate innocence to it all that is both refreshing and very charming.
Endearing. Smart. Engaging.
[ Bio ]
Richard Osman is a British television producer and presenter.
The Thursday Murder Club is his first, and so far, best novel.
Twitter ~ @richardosman