First things first, I need to confess that I LOVE Richard Osman. I suspect he’s appeared on a Heat Weird Crush list at some point (Google confirms, winner in 2011) – but is clearly far more valid an entrant than Piers Morgan. Richard is funny, quick witted, clever and an all round perfect crush. OK, so Xander Armstrong might have the royal lineage and recording contract for easy listening stuff your Mum would listen to – but Richard is the star of Pointless for me. (Although I am still a bit disappointed that my Mum and I never got past the application form stage – although perhaps there is a special pile designated for ‘potential stalkers of Richard therefore do not progress’)
Anyway – enough of my fan girling – but it’s safe to say I had high hopes for this book when I was approved for an advance review copy on NetGalley.
Here’s the blurb (in case ‘written by Richard Osman’ isn’t enough of a temptation for everyone):
“THE FIRST BOOK IN THE GRIPPING THURSDAY MURDER CLUB SERIES BY TV PRESENTER RICHARD OSMAN
In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet up once a week to investigate unsolved murders.
But when a brutal killing takes place on their very doorstep, the Thursday Murder Club find themselves in the middle of their first live case.
Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.
Can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer before it’s too late?”
I ADORED this book. As crime dramas go it’s more ‘Grantchester’ than ‘Line of Duty’ – but that was just perfect.
The central character OAPs are a diverse bunch who each bring skills from their younger lives to the team – Elizabeth has some mysterious espionage background, Joyce was a nurse, Ibrahim a psychiatrist, and Ron a union firebrand. Their relationship with Chris and Donna – the police in charge of the investigation – is hilarious, Elizabeth is the Queen of manipulation – and everyone ends up doing what she wants.
There are red herrings aplenty – and coincidences galore – but that all makes for a twisty turny read that I couldn’t put down.
I started highlighting sentences that I loved – but realised I’d end up having most of the book highlighted – so here are just a couple to give you a flavour:
“After a certain age, you can pretty much do whatever takes your fancy. No one tells you off, except for your doctors and your children.” This was very early on in the book and rang incredibly true, particularly following the recent lockdown – where I, and a number of friends, have had to deal with septuagenarian parents who think we are totally unreasonable for discounting ‘popping to get a paper’ as an essential journey and thus telling them off!
“I haven’t been to Ashford International, but I doubt a station would have ‘International’ in its name and not have an M&S.” This is just so British – and I could hear my late Nan saying something exactly like this! In the 1980s – so when there were far less mini M&Ss around – my Grandfather got my Nan to walk to the top of the Long Mynd in Shropshire by promising her there was an M&S at the top!
Whilst there are murders, there is also a lot of humour and laugh out loud moments. There are also some really tender and emotional moments between the characters – and some big stuff is dealt with too – dementia, suicide, euthanasia, family relationships – but all done in a lovely way.
It’s funny, clever, quick witted – and you can almost hear Richard Osman saying some of the lines. I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book where the personality of the writer is so personified in the way it’s written – but as a fan that doesn’t bother me (however if you don’t like Mr Osman, maybe don’t bother reading it!?)
The only slight bug bear is that the formatting is a bit weird – and mid paragraph you could jump scene from, say, the retirement village to the police station. Initially I thought this might have been a clever ploy to keep the reader on their toes and potentially stave off dementia – but suspect that more likely it’s because it was a proof copy and this will be sorted before the book is actually released!
But aside from this – I thoroughly enjoyed this fabulous book – and I’m chuffed that it’s the start of a series. I can not wait to see what the Thursday Murder Club get up to next.
A huge thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy – I will be singing The Thursday Murder Club’s praises far and wide!