The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (2020)

Richard Osman is one of those affable, gentle types who I’m sure started out somewhere in comedy and rose to TV ubiquity whilst I was on holiday or something. Since conquering TV-land I suppose the next logical frontier is publishing. So great is Osman’s star that, I believe, a 6 or 7 figure bidding war broke out for a three or four book deal and now Spielberg has optioned (or bought outright) the rights for this debut.

In a retirement home somewhere in the depths of the Kent countryside 4 friends gather each week to put their heads together to solve decades old crimes. It is only when a murder happens practically on their doorstep that they are able to pool their skills and, with the occasional assistance from a couple of people on the police force, they crack the crimes.

To give any more away than that would be to…well…it’s actually too complicated to explain why really. The style and storyline is certainly complex with the story being told from multiple viewpoints and use of tenses. I was rather hoping for a Roger Acroyd style ending but, in fact, it’s much much more complicated than that. In fact I rather lost my way a bit. Which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, it’s just that I was questioning whether I’d been paying enough attention at times – which I think I was, it’s just that stylistically it was a bit topsy turvy.

I quite liked the characters, particularly Elizabeth and, used as a device, this character was able to push the action along at a fair old rate. However, I do feel there were a couple of loose ends that might not have been addressed…or were they? I don’t know. One of them is to do with a character called Cornelius who, we are promised, we’ll hear more about in due course and the other is about Joyce – one of the main characters – and then nothing more (or of note) is forthcoming. Maybe these things will be cleared up in the second book? I’ll have to find out and yes, I’m quite curious to know what happens.

This is a gentle amusing story that will raise a wry smile rather than outright belly laughs, although transferred to the big screen I’m sure this will be different. However there is a little added pathos along the way which is to be expected but in some bizarre way I found there to be little sentimentality about it! That may just be me of course. In terms of it being a complete story it does come full circle but, if I’m honest, if this were a wrapped present it would be the one with gaffer tape and yesterday’s newspaper, not the nice one in the sage green paper with perfect origami creases. I found the ending to be a little clumsy and it took all of my brain power to keep up with it all.

It’ll be interesting to see how this does transfer to the big screen as there are those names, nuances and pettiness that would be lost on a non-British audience and sadly could well be lost in translation. However, Spielberg knows what he’s doing and perhaps transferring the action to an upmarket Santa Barbara residential home might be the way forward (but who I am to tell Mr Spielberg what to do?).

I feel the review is maybe a little underwhelming and probably hasn’t really done the book a tremendous amount of justice. It’ll certainly have its detractors out there but is it classed as one of those cosy murders? If so there’s nothing wrong with that and it’s clear the author is having a bit of fun with his characters which, after all, is what writing should be about.

14 thoughts on “The Thursday Murder Club, by Richard Osman (2020)

    1. If you turn the tv on then that’ll be him 😜
      I wouldn’t mind reading the others. It’s got that sort of quaint Britishness that I quite enjoy!


    1. I 100% agree with you there Robbie! Seems unfair really and they should give us mere mortals a crack of the publishing whip occasionally!! Osman mentions in the acknowledgements of his book the number of people who guided him through from draft to publishing. He did make it sound like ‘writing by numbers’, but there you go. When I’m rich and famous….😜

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I looked up The Thursday Murder Club on Amazon and noted that, as you suggested, the ratings are in the 4 and 5 star range. Some hoped for more to come. However, there was one reader that said “very disappointing, silly and boring.” A few months ago, my sister Sarah and I discussed the “cozy mystery” genre, which makes murder as a way to create a story line. You can always tell who will be the victim – the one that everyone hates. But there is a lightheartedness and simplicity to the narrative that many seek, given our complex environment. These readers what to have fun, even though the can guess the ending.

    A great review, Sarah.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Rebecca.
      It’s certainly not a challenging read and the author is so well known and liked that nobody dare leave anything less than 4 or 5 stars! 😉
      The cozy mystery genre is not one I’ve delved into very much – in fact this is perhaps the only time. I don’t think I’m prepared to give up my Golden Age of detective stories quite yet, but I do agree that Cozy stories are just a bit of fun and that’s ok especially, as you mention, life can be pretty tough!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks Dave. I guess the cult of celebrity will ensure it’s a runaway success of course no matter what!
    I can see why people enjoyed it but I can’t imagine it translates well beyond the south east of England!!
    Anyway, if quizzed by Osman’s people I shall deny everything!

    Liked by 1 person

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