There’s a huge number of books being published in one go just at the moment, because of the Covid backlog, so the fight for readers (and buyers) is on. This book came out on 3rd September and is already a bestseller. There are celebrity novels and celebrity novels and when the book is by Richard Osman, you can at least be sure that he wrote it himself.
The Thursday Murder Club is set in a retirement village called Coopers Chase. It’s refreshing to read a book about old people who aren’t just waiting to die but still find life interesting (shades here of The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83¼, set in an Amsterdam care home). The dominant character is the remarkable Elizabeth, whom one assumes worked for the secret services in a previous life. The other members of the club are Ron, formerly a fiery union leader, Ibrahim, an Egyptian psychiatrist and Joyce, once a nurse. The book begins with a note apparently written by a murderer who has hidden a body and got away with it. Yet once the murders begin around Coopers Chase, the bodies are very evident. So, the mystery is who might be dead and where the body is buried. I had my theories but Osman has been very clever with his red herrings and there are some surprises. Naturally, the oldies prove better than the police at researching and uncovering secrets; they have their methods. Even so, there are a few loose ends left dangling temptingly.
I had a problem with the random narrative jumps. For instance, one might be reading an extract from Penny’s diary when the very next sentence reverts to the third person and the storyteller is not Penny at all. This may be due to reading a proof copy on the Kindle; possibly the physical book is better in this respect. I was intrigued by the mystery, liked the characters very much and was often amused. This is the first book in a projected trilogy. Would I like to read the next one? Yes please.
Thanks to Penguin books and NetGalley for the preview.