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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

Dani Solomon is the assistant manager at Readings Kids.