THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB | RICHARD OSMAN [Review]

In 3 words: Cute; Quirky; Bizarre (☆☆☆)

A Summary (No Spoilers)…

A newcomer to Cooper’s Chase Retirement Village, Joyce is introduced to the Thursday Murder Club, a group who meet in the Jigsaw Room on Thursdays to speculate on unsolved cases. We follow the eclectic but charming group as they become enmeshed in the real murder of one Tony Curran.

The ‘fastest selling adult crime debut since records began’, The Thursday Murder Club became wildly popular when it was published in 2020. Its popularity is attributed to ‘the originality of the setting, inspired by a visit Osman paid to an affluent retirement village’, but I found that it was rather lacking in novelty. If the category is ‘cute but cunning seniors’, Jonas Jonasson’s The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window And Disappeared takes the prize. And, if the angle is ‘retirement village seniors go on an adventure’, that’s been done in The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules.

What I enjoyed was not the plot, which made the book feel longer than 368 pages, but the characters. The members of the Thursday Murder Club are all lively and loveable: Elizabeth was basically a secret agent in her prime, Ron is a hotheaded activist and the father of a famous boxer, Ibrahim is an intelligent and compassionate ex-therapist, and Joyce is a retired nurse who sees all and hears all. Adorable as they were, the characters didn’t feel very real to me. Rather, they felt more like far-fetched caricatures — you have the loud angry one (Ron), the ‘brains’ (Ibrahim), the ‘innocent’ one (Joyce), and the badass enigma (Elizabeth). Although the book deals compassionately with issues like euthanasia, suicide, and grief, the gravity of these events was spoilt by the implausibility and shallowness of the characters.

Jo’s Recommendation

All-in-all, The Thursday Murder Club was a fun, light-hearted read, but you may be disappointed if you go in thinking it will be an extremely clever, original, or memorable book. One to recommend to fans of mystery, or an unoffensive gift for friends who love to read.

You’ll Also Love…

The Girl Who Saved The King of Sweden | Jonas Jonasson → Jonasson is the absolute master of cute characters and bizarre situations, and I couldn’t help but feel that Osman accomplished a lesser version of this style. I highly recommend this one if you love the quirkiness of The Thursday Murder Club.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules | Catarina Ingelman-Sundberg →for another book about the antics of a group of amusing seniors — pensioners manipulate their way out of tricky (and illegal) problems by blaming their loss of memory and age-related clumsiness.

The Secret Adversary | Agatha Christie → for another cosy mystery with a clever plot. I felt the characters in The Thursday Murder Club had the loveable dynamic of Tommy and Tuppence in The Secret Adversary.

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