Book review: The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

There is something quite joyful about mischievous septuagenarians. Comedian and television presenter Richard Osman turned his hand to writing cosy mystery The Thursday Murder Club after a visit to an affluent retirement village.

In life you have to learn to count the good days. You have to tuck them in your pocket and carry them around with you. So I’m putting today in my pocket and I’m off to bed.

Residents of Coopers Chase retirement village in Kent, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron meet weekly over wine and cake in the Jigsaw Room for their group ’Japanese Opera: A Discussion‘. It’s a front for the Thursday Murder Club and ensures they are not disturbed whilst they work on their cold-case murders. The ringleader, Elizabeth, has her ways…of getting hold of cold case files, and leveraging others for information the police would be envious of. Her conspirators are an ex nurse (Joyce), a retired psychiatrist with excellent attention to detail and logistical skills (Ibrahim), and militant unionist, Ron, or Red Ron as he is known.

Many years ago, everybody here would wake early because there was much to do and only so many hours in the day. Now they wake early because there is much to do and only so many days left.

When local developer and drug dealer, Tony Curran is found dead, the Thursday Murder Club decide they are going to solve the case. They talk disenfranchised PC Donna de Freitas into secretly working with them, promising her credit to help get her off mundane administrative work and into serious investigations. Soon the bodies start to pile up. There is another murder and a mysterious discovery of human bones that don’t belong in the part of the cemetery where they are found – on top of a coffin.

Donna has always been headstrong, always acted quickly and decisively. Which is a fine quality when you are right, but a liability when you are wrong. It’s great to be the fastest runner, but not when you’re running in the wrong direction.

The sassy characters and gentle humour make The Thursday Murder Club an entertaining and light read. The older I get, the more enjoyment I get out of reading stories with quirky old folk with a zest for life and The Thursday Murder Club hit the spot. The novel is a lovely reminder that the elderly should not be dismissed or ignored – they still have plenty to offer.

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.