The Thursday Murder Club Review
by E. Stevens
‘This novel is such a unique mix of genres: it merges classic murder mystery with light-hearted, witty comedy to create a highly enjoyable experience for the reader.’
Author: Richard Osman
Synopsis: Four residents of a quiet retirement village meet each week to fuel their passion for unsolved murders. But when a local man is brutally killed, this unlikely group of detectives are thrown into solving their first live case.
Review: As an avid reader of Agatha Christie, I was excited to read this novel as I hoped it would have a similar atmosphere to the classic murder mysteries of the Golden Age, and I was not disappointed.
Richard Osman’s debut novel takes place in Coopers Chase, a peaceful retirement village, a setting that was very intriguing when I initially heard about this book. The story follows four of the residents: Joyce, a friendly former nurse, Elizabeth, an inquisitive aspiring investigator, outspoken and feisty Ron, and organised, intelligent Ibrahim. The four friends meet each Thursday to discuss unsolved murder cases sourced by Elizabeth. But when a local builder is killed just minutes away from Coopers Chase, the Thursday Murder Club decide that they cannot pass up the opportunity to get their teeth into a real live case. Unwillingly aided by the local police, Joyce, Elizabeth, Ron and Ibrahim begin to unravel the mystery, but it soon turns out the truth is far more complex than they could have ever imagined.
This novel is such a unique mix of genres: it merges classic murder mystery with light-hearted, witty comedy to create a highly enjoyable experience for the reader. The characters are well-developed and right from the beginning they were so real they seemed to jump off the page. This is not usually seen in detective fiction, where the intricate plot tends to be the focus of the novel, so to read a mystery with complex characters was extremely refreshing. Perhaps this was due to the story itself, as elderly characters worrying about things like their children and grandchildren is instantly recognisable for most readers. Osman incorporates these emotional moments seamlessly into the rest of the plot, constructing a delightful adventure in a very original setting.
Aside from the laugh-out-loud comedy, my favourite aspect of the book was how naturally the story progressed. The characters were not unrealistically intelligent or perceptive (perhaps except for Elizabeth), but instead made discoveries at the same rate as the reader, which made it much more entertaining. The only critique I have of this book was that the ending was a little predictable. It was possible to guess the culprit almost by a process of elimination as nearly every other character had either been given an alibi or killed off! However, this is easy to overlook and, overall, The Thursday Murder Club was very entertaining and the perfect modern murder mystery.
The Thursday Murder Club is currently available online from various websites.