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First Look: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

First Look: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves. A female cop with her first big case. A brutal murder. Welcome to... The Thursday Murder Club.

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club.

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it's too late?

Clifford and Jed share their thoughts on Richard Osman’s new cozy mystery, The Thursday Murder Club.


Unlikely Sleuths

Clifford says: The titular club is a group of friends who meet every Thursday to discuss unsolved crimes, taken from police files provided by a member who happens to be a former police officer. You’re probably already familiar with the trope: The Amateur Sleuths Who Meet in a Treehouse and Help the Police Solve a Crime. Except in The Thursday Murder Club, the sleuths are a group of pensioners, and their treehouse a retirement village. And the former police officer? She’s comatose.

Jed says: Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron meet every Thursday to discuss unsolved murders. For two hours every week, they would go over the evidence and invite over witnesses to conduct interviews. Justice would probably never be done, but to them, it’s a worthwhile exercise -- something to keep them busy as the days fly by. Soon after Joyce -- the most recent addition -- joins the group, a local builder gets whacked dead by a wrench.

 

A Delicious Narrative

Clifford says: The narrative is told through a revolving door of limited third-person points of view, which makes everyone both suspect and unreliable narrators. […] The seniors in the Club provide a far more interesting take on the genre. In addition to their fixation on unsolved murders, the members keep themselves occupied with things that are a bit more mundane, like keeping up with the local rumor mill and getting a grip on things like Skype and Tinder. You know, old people stuff.

Jed says: The mystery itself is fantastically plotted -- the kind that gets tangled up in all sorts of segues and dead ends, but makes absolute sense in the end. The journey to the finish is made easy by the dry, humorous writing that lends a very specific quality to the proceedings. Just like the protagonists, who have lived their lives and have nothing more to prove, the narration and the world don’t take themselves too seriously.

 

The Verdict

Clifford says: The Thursday Murder Club is advertised as the first of a series, and I think Richard Osman has a good thing going here. It’s not a good mystery novel “for a first-time novelist” or “for a celebrity writer,” no; it’s a good mystery novel, period. There is also small-town intrigue and some British humor, along with good pacing and a mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.

Jed says: As with many things, your own mileage will vary depending on how seasoned of a mystery reader you are and how much satisfaction you derive from recognizing the clues and the red herrings. Mystery-solving aside, however, The Thursday Murder Club is a fine novel that will entertain just about anyone. It simply holds much more for those with just the right amount of genre-savviness. Final verdict: read it!


Clifford is a content writer, musician, and caffeine fiend who co-hosts monthly comic book podcast.
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Jed has worked as an animator, web designer, and college instructor, but he continues to dream of writing for a living.
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[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the reviewers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our reviewers anyway.]


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