Last Christmas, I discovered the amazing game show that is Richard Osman’s House of Games. It’s a clever twist on the classic game show format, is highly entertaining, requires wit and is generally such a delight! So, it’s wonderful to report that this seems to be a signature move from Richard Osman as all these joyous elements can be found in his debut novel: The Thursday Murder Club.
Opening sentence: Well, let’s start with Elizabeth, shall we?
The title alone is enough to intrigue you, yes?
So, just who are the Thursday murder club? Well, they are Elizabeth, Ron, Ibrahim, Joyce and formerly Penny.
Our club members are all in their 70s and live in Coopers Chase retirement village. Every Thursday, they look through old case files (belonging to Penny, a former member of the police) of unsolved murders and try to solve them. Then, a real life murder comes their way when Tony Curran – a local man with links to the retirement home – is murdered.
They immediately get to work at trying to solve the crime. Strong-willed Elizabeth calls the shots and utilise everyone’s specific skill-sets. Former nurse Joyce is the newest member of the club and she was my favourite character: so funny and astute, I got some Miss Marple vibes from her.
If today was anything to go by, this whole murder investigation is going to be the most enormous fun.JOYCE
We also meet a wonderful cast of other characters who all play their parts in the plot: Ian Ventham, owner of the retirement village, Ron’s son Jason, a retired boxer who now tours the minor celeb scene (think Dancing on Ice), Father Mackie who has his own secrets, charming handyman Bogdan, grieving Bernard and Fairhaven’s local and likeable police: DCI Chris Hudson and PC Donna De Freitas.
I’ve included all these characters here to show you how many sub-plots and people are expertly woven through the narrative. Nothing feels forced, cluttered or excessive and everything comes together and flows in a fiendishly wonderful way.
Not 1, not 2, but 3 murders…
Yes, along with the character mix there are not one but THREE murders that weave their way into this clever story and become cases for the Thursday murder club to sink their teeth into.
The sun is up, the skies are blue and murder is in the air.
Basically, my takeaway from reading is this: you should never underestimate the power of a group of seemingly innocent septuagenarians.
The Thursday Murder Club felt to me like a little homage to Agatha Christie with its funny quips, dry asides, clever murder mystery and overall gentle tone that’s not afraid to throw in a serious moment. And also like a great Christie novel, no element of the story goes the way you think it will.
This was truly a delight to read. Here’s hoping the Thursday murder club have another outing very soon.