Richard Osman’s book has always been on my reader’s radar but when a friend compared one of my stories on Reedsy Prompts with The Thursday Murder Club, I had to investigate it a little more urgently.
It was not a disappointment at all. Based in a retirement village called Coopers Chase, a group of four elderly people meet up once a week to peruse cold cases of murder that the police no longer investigate, to keep their brains active and to have a purpose. When an actual murder takes place of a person with close ties to their village, The Thursday Murder Club are keen to help the local police find the truth. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron make up the four members, all with different backgrounds before retirement and all bringing something to the team.
The narrative is split between a third person narration which is written in the present tense – perhaps for immediacy as if you are viewing things as they happen – and this runs alongside Joyce’s journal entries, which are full of her own observations, personal ruminations on her life and relationships as well as reflections on her past experiences.
When The Thursday Murder Club are visited by police officer Donna De Freitas, a connection to the local constabulary is made and an unlikely collaboration begins between the law and the pensioners, which leads to the revealing of the truth. Loose ends become neatly tied and long buried secrets are aired, even if justice is not necessarily served.
I have to comment on Osman’s ability to mislead too as the way that he writes means that you are stumbling across clues in the text that lead you to believe one thing, only to find that they have been deliberately placed for you to discover them; not knowing this, you think you have been clever in spotting them to which Osman firmly and embarrassingly plants you on your face as you realise that once more you have been tripped up and accidentally entered the bright crimson fishmongers where herring are distributed.
I like stories about old people who are not defeated by life and still have curiosity and vitality and, this book is reminiscent of The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules, another enjoyable caper involving seniors and a great read.
Gentle humour, human warmth and mischievous pensioners – a rewarding reading experience.