The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

‘I will get the hang of writing this, I promise.’

Meet the members of the Thursday Murder Club: Elizabeth, Ibrahim, Joyce, and Ron.  They live in the ‘luxury retirement village’ of Coopers Chase in Kent and met up once a week to discuss (and solve) unsolved murder cases. They meet in one of the village’s discussion rooms, booked each week to discuss Japanese Opera (which may explain why they are not interrupted).

But we have barely met Elizabeth (with her mysterious and intriguing past), Joyce (a former nurse), Ibrahim (a former psychiatrist) and Ron (formerly a militant unionist) when two deaths occur practically on their doorstep.  And if you thought that the Thursday Murder Club would not become involved in solving the case, then you have not been paying attention, especially when an old photograph is found next to one of the bodies.

What follows is a very entertaining novel which manages to address some of the serious aspects of ageing while solving some tricky murder mysteries.  While the police do not exactly welcome their involvement, the four have plenty of value to add to the investigation.

I enjoyed this novel.  The main characters have well defined personalities and each of them is grappling with the consequences of ageing (creeping up on all of us if we live long enough).  Physical decline is one aspect, but a decrease in mental awareness is our (their) biggest fear.   What better way to retain your mental acuity than by investigating murder?  Indeed.  The investigations are not straightforward: there are red herrings, historical events, and family issues to identify.

Highly recommended. 

Jennifer Cameron-Smith