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?
I have to admit to being a little sceptical about The Thursday Murder Club. ‘Celebrity’ authors can often be a little hit and miss and I wasn’t sure if this mystery, written by Pointless creator and co-presenter Richard Osman, would be quirky for the right reasons. A few chapters in however and all such worries were dispelled. The Thursday Murder Club really is as charming, quintessentially British, and laugh out loud fully as all the pull quotes garnishing the cover promise it will be, and makes for a delightful read to curl up with as the autumn nights begin to draw in.
Set in the exclusive retirement village of Coopers Chase, The Thursday Murder Club comprises of Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron. This eclectic bunch of pensioners might be pushing eighty but beneath their harmless appearances, they each have hidden skills and fearless intellects.
Ringleader Elizabeth’s respectable appearance belies a colourful and mysterious past that has taken her to the far corners of the globe and left her with a curious range of contacts who owe her a favour or three. Former nurse Joyce uses her quiet, friendly demeanour – and her extensive baking skills – to encourage the sharing of long-held secrets. Union boss Ron has lost non of his explosive ire – and can put it to use on demand when the situation requires. And retired psychoanalyst Ibrahim has the methodical mind and attention to detail required to notice even the slightest of mistakes on the part of their quarry.
When loathsome property developer Tony Curran is found dead, The Thursday Murder Club spring in to action. Recruiting ambitious police police constable Donna to their cause, this unlikely group of detectives is soon hot on the trail of a killer whose motive seems to stretch long into the past. What does Tony’s death have to do with the old graveyard, resting place of generations of nuns whose abbey used to be at the heart of Coopers Chase? Is it connected to a long-ago drug deal gone wrong? One thing is clear – there are people at Coopers Chase who are not who they claim to be. And that’s all before the second body turns up.
The Thursday Murder Club provides the perfect mix of mystery, comedy, poignancy, and compassion. It made me laugh out loud and shed a tear, often within a few pages of each other. Laced with a wry humour, the book is also fully of heart and doesn’t shy away from the realities of ageing – whether that is regrets for the road not taken, or the inevitable decline of both mental and physical health.
I genuinely warmed to the members of The Thursday Murder Club and their assorted associates, all of whom are bought to life so vividly that picking the novel up after a break started to feel like making a welcome return visit to see much-loved older relatives! Unlike in some crime novels, side characters are given plenty of personality without becoming diverting – Osman has a remarkable ability to create intimate pen portraits of even relatively minor characters in just a few lines and puts this to great use throughout, creating both empathy and humour for many of the incidental players in the drama. There’s also a genuinely clever mystery at the heart of the story, with plenty of plausible red-herrings and tangents to leave even the sharpest of armchair detectives astray.
A smart, witty and immensely pleasurable read, The Thursday Murder Club is the perfect mystery to curl up with as the night begin to draw in. I was delighted to learn that Richard Osman intends to write a series and very much look forward to reading about Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron’s next adventure!
If you can, please support a local indie bookshop by ordering from them either in person or online! Some of my favourites include Booka Bookshop, The Big Green Bookshop, Sam Read Booksellers, Book-ish, Scarthin Books, and Berts Books.
My thanks go to the publisher and to Netgalley UK for providing an e-copy of the book in return for an honest and unbiased review.
Reviews on The Shelf are free, honest, and unbiased and I don’t use affiliate links on my posts. However if you enjoy the blog please consider buying me a coffee on Ko-Fi!