The Thursday Murder Club

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The WSJ's Tom Nolan put this debut novel from Richard Osman on his Best Mysteries of 2020 list. That's been a mixed bag so far, but this was a goodie. I started casting the BBC miniseries in my head as I read: Judi Dench as Elizabeth! Penelope Wilton as Joyce! Bob Hoskins as Ron!… oh, wait, he's dead. Well, you get the idea.

The Club is set up at a comfy British retirement village Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim get together to puzzle out unsolved cold cases from the past, provided from a retired policewoman's files. But soon enough they get a more modern crime dropped (nearly literally) at their doorstep. After an argument between the village's owner and his partner (both with criminal pasts) the partner is bludgeoned to death at his home. And an old picture is left at the crime scene…

Who done it? Well, it's complicated. And there are a lot of suspects. It pays the reader to pay attention to all the characters, you never know who's going to matter later.

The book is hilarious in spots. Each club member has talents that aid in their investigation. The cops assigned to the case are (of course) opposed to civilian interference, but are more or less forced to accept the club's help; it turns out that their methods uncover relevant clues before the police can.

But it's not all hilarity. Our heroes are old, and the book doesn't flinch from confronting what that means in terms of lost loved ones and loneliness.

I see that Richard Osman has a second book coming out in September. I'm in.

Last Modified 2024-01-23 6:44 AM EDT