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The Thursday Murder Club


The Thursday Murder Club

Kate Atkinson called THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB “a little beacon of pleasure,” and she couldn’t be more right. It’s that and much, much more.

An eclectic group of retired residents at Coopers Chase village meet every Thursday to try their hand at solving old murders. Sometimes it starts with a mysterious note slipped under a door. Or sometimes Elizabeth, one of the members and an enigmatic woman who won’t take no for an answer, unearths a cold case file. However it happens, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron all leap in to try to solve the mystery. They have fabulous fun doing so and definitely prefer it to yoga or jigsaw puzzles.

But then exceptional luck comes their way when an actual, real-live murder falls into their laps. Tony Curran, developer of the retirement village, is killed. They recently saw him arguing with someone, and now he’s dead. Gleefully, the Thursday Murder Club springs into action.

"The characters are the true driving force [behind the story] and a huge part of the charm. Their unique voices will linger long after you finish the book."

Normally, the police don’t welcome civilians meddling in their cases, especially when we’re talking about murder. The Fairhaven Police are no exception. Down at the station, the crime is being discussed. PC Donna De Freitas, a transfer from London, lingers in the conference room eavesdropping, trying to catch all the juicy bits about the case. Who can blame her for being curious? That’s surely a sign of a good detective. But this new department doesn’t trust her with real police work yet. Donna’s daily duties include presenting security talks around town, which she finds tedious, but it also introduces her to the Thursday Murder Club.

So when Elizabeth discovers that Donna wants to work major crimes, she devises a way to make that happen. If she succeeds, then the Club wants to exchange info with the coppers. Donna is naturally skeptical, but, if Elizabeth can actually manage to get her on the Murder Squad, she’ll agree to a tit for tat. At least, as much as she is able.

Of course, Elizabeth delivers exactly as she said she would, and Donna soon finds herself joining the men on the Tony Curran case. It falls to DCI Chris Hudson to allow Donna to “shadow” him in the investigation, and the pair work their case while the Thursday Murder Club works it in their own way. Quite frankly, though, the Club outpaces the police by leaps and bounds. Chris and Donna are baffled. How can a group of old folks, inexperienced to boot, unearth so many clues while the police stumble behind?

How each follows their clues and interviews witnesses is a tiny piece of the story. The characters are the true driving force and a huge part of the charm. Their unique voices will linger long after you finish the book. Elizabeth is sort of an unknown quantity, while Joyce comes across as a sweet old lady (but probably has her own secrets). Ron is growing old and a bit grumpy, but he accepts it. And Ibrahim is the analytical one among them. Oh, but there’s so much more to each of them. They are full-blown personalities --- witty, tragic, sad, forgiving and enviable --- the many emotions one finds in the waning years of one’s life.

British TV personality Richard Osman’s debut novel is an exceptional gem. I guarantee you will want to join the Thursday Murder Club.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on September 25, 2020

The Thursday Murder Club
by Richard Osman

  • Publication Date: August 3, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books
  • ISBN-10: 1984880985
  • ISBN-13: 9781984880987