The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
My first attempt at this review was basically an essay about why Elizabeth - the octogenarian founder of the Thursday Murder Club, and a woman who I am certain spent a least a few years of her life as 007 - is who I want to be when I grow up. Instead I have put the essay to the side (I’d be a terrible secret agent in any case) and have distilled it down to these five major points:
It got me my reading mojo back. I’ve been in a reading slump for about a month and it’s felt horrible. I’m a bookseller; books are literally my life. Being unable to read has made me feel like a concert pianist with broken fingers.
It’s funny. There is a scene in which the Thursday Murder Club (a group of four 80-plus retirees who try to solve cold case murders) invite two police officers, DCI Chris and PC Donna, into their home to ‘subtly’ interrogate them. It was like watching a masterclass in manipulation. I can’t make a cup of tea now without chuckling to myself.
The writing is great. Again, it’s funny - when she first meets him Donna describes Chris as a guy who ‘seemed nice enough because he once held a door open for her without looking like he wanted a medal for it’ - but it’s also beautifully poetic in parts. Osman’s descriptions of the women who worked in a long-closed 100-year-old convent made me stop reading for a bit.
The mystery stumped me. With over 300 years of experience spread between the Thursday Murder Club I guess it makes sense that they’d work out who dunnit before me but I loved every second of being wrong, it was like reading four Miss Marple books at the same time!
The thing that stands out most to me though is that for a crime book with a surprisingly high body count, The Thursday Murder Club is a story brimming with thoughtfulness, kindness and compassion. After months of lockdown with the increasingly depressing news of the world banging at my door, I think I really needed it.