Title – The Thursday Murder Club
Author – Richard Osman
Published – September 2020
Genre – Crime fiction
I had this (as a NetGalley) on my Kindle for a while and as a debut that’s hit the top of the bestseller lists I thought I should crack on and see what all the fuss was about.
I found that the beginning of the book really dragged, there were lots of characters who I didn’t yet care about, a lot of scene setting, too many witticisms and the present tense was a bit distracting (more suited to something with more thrills). At about 10% through I toyed with giving up but it’s really unusual for me to do that so I pressed on. I found I could only continue by skipping over some of the larger blocks of text that seemed irrelevant to the story.
The premise is four elderly friends living in a very up-market retirement village who meet as the ‘Thursday Murder Club’ to help one of the members, a former police officer, solve her old cold cases. Then there is a real case on their doorstep and they step up with the intention of solving it before the police do.
What follows is a modern twist on a cosy crime, where the geriatric investigators attempt to lead the way, bringing their pre-retirement experience to their new role as armchair detectives, lubricated by their tipples of choice.
There’s a mix of third person pov from a number of characters with diary entries for one of the ‘gang’. It jumps around a bit but once I got used to the changes in chapters it was less distracting. But what was with all the dialogue where people kept including the name of the person they were talking to? It really jarred and brought me out of the story, just not how people talk.
There were a number of touching moments as the story includes some of the issues which are inevitable in a retirement village but I did find that this bordered on being overly sentimental.
Too much escapism for me and sentimentality and when the deaths are solved I didn’t find the resolution particularly satisfying.
There has been a huge campaign surrounding this book – the author did the rounds of crime festivals last year, the blurb has quotes from a large range of authors, there’s even been a blog tour – not surprising for a book thought to be the biggest deal for a debut book in a decade. But it can’t be avoided that Osman appears on late-afternoon day-time TV and as such is writing about, and for, a particular audience who seem to be buying they hype. Or perhaps the appeal is a cosy mystery set in some sort of rural idyl when we’re all in the midst of a pandemic.
Many thanks to the publisher for the NetGalley.