The Thursday Murder Club
By Richard Osman
Rated: 5 stars *****
Just to add to his talents – impressively, Richard Osman, who most notably presents Pointless and House of Games with aplomb, can also write a book very well.
The Thursday Murder Club is a Must Read!
Many, many, many thanks for the advanced copy and for allowing me to review.
I have a burb and my review below. I loved the book. It is a Must Read.
Please note that my review is unbiased.
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?
The Thursday Murder Club is a book that hasn’t just reached expectations, it exceeded them!
Richard Osman is such a talented man and wow, can he write! I must say, after seeing him talk about his book and read an excerpt at Bloody Scotland Crime Festival in Stirling, way back in September 2019, I had high hopes. I’m so impressed that I do think it does have all the ingredients to make a terrific film and indeed Steven Speilberg has the rights to this.
The book is very hard to put down, once started.
With instantly likeable characters, who still have quite a bit of life and humour about them, it gets off to a fantastic start. They are quite a crew of people who wouldn’t normally have met, but are thrown together in their new stage of life in the retirement village, which I must say, sounds amazing, surrounded by countryside, with plenty to do. This is much more than a humour type of book, it is an excellent mystery that layers up and will take readers in all sorts of directions, sort of like an enigma in this otherwise genteel setting. I couldn’t guess who the culprit was. The book just absorbs you into its setting and characters incredibly well and everything is certainly flung at them. It takes a somewhat realistic view in the fact that the characters have to be aware of the present-day in its behaviour and technologies.
I was impressed then and the book has lived up to expectations; so I am still impressed now, having read the book in its entirety. It’s up there with some of the best in cosy crime, with its supposedly, unassuming characters in a retirement home, who are sharper and more “modern” in their thinking, than you would think, but they don’t appear to be as they are rather overlooked by many people, which proves useful as they get to do anything they want with little consequence. With solving crimes on their minds, they form The Thursday Murder Club and no more so when they find ways of getting involved in one that happened on their doorstep.
There is some rather dark humour from the residents. That catches the attention straight off. Readers, are led, like you are going on a tour with her and you’re the person who is there to “Meet New People and Try New Things”, as the first part is called. It’s a clever way of introducing characters and some background and layout of the retirement community. Elizabeth is first, then Bernard, then Mary, Ron and Ibrahim. They like to talk about murders in sometimes, perhaps in a way that you may not want to mess with them. Then there is a live murder, right on their doorsteps, that grabs the residents attention as they get themselves involved in solving the case in imaginative ways.
Throughout the book are excerpts of a diary that Joyce keeps, full of bits about murder and poignant, philisophical thoughts.
There is enough intrigue set up, surrounding Tony Curren and Ian Ventham and the companies.
The book is wonderfully nuanced with how the characters behave. I would go as far as saying Richard Osman has observed his chosen age group for his characters very well. The tone, things they say and how it is said, is very much set in reality. There’s quite a bit of positivity written about his older characters, to show that at least some, are still capable of doing things, which also amusing.
I thought it was a lovely thing to have a character (Ibrahim Arif) support Westham United. I also think it is lovely he has included a character (Ron Ritchie) who has read all of Mark Billingham’s books, since that is who he did a talk with and sounded like they know each other well. As well as the characters and plot being quite heart-warming, it is kind moments like these that also add to the heart-warming moments.
The way the pensioners are with the Detective Inspector – Chris, is priceless and full of humour. I do sort of feel a bit sorry for the D.I. He certainly wouldn’t have expected the pensioners to be quite so excitable; but the way Richard Osman has written these scenes has timing down to a “T”.
“Everyone Has A Story to Tell” and they certainly do in the second part as more comes tumbling out.
Kindness is portrayed again, this time in the form of strangers helping Joyce after a fall. There are also some unexpected twists and turns, which cause excitement and more debate amongst the residents. Things hot up as the Thursday Murder Club get ever closer to the truth.
The book can be bought from today on Amazon, Independent bookshops and Waterstones. I highly recommend this “Must Read” book.
The second book is being drafted out. I for one, cannot wait until it is published next autumn.