Richard Osman’s first novel is as delightful as it is unexpected.
Writing a crime novel didn’t seem like the obvious next thing for Richard Osman to do, and I always get a little nervous when celebrities turn their hands to something outside their previous career. Are they just being published because they’re famous?
Well that’s absolutely not the case hear because this is a thoroughly entertaining crime novel set in the confines of a rural upmarket retirement home. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron meet each Thursday in the jigsaw room of their retirement village, where they “reopen” unsolved cases and attempt to solve. Using their mix of special skills – particularly Elizabeth’s, who’s backstory is especially intriguing – they turn their minds to things that may have been overlooked at the time.
So when there’s a local murder that seems to implicate people in and around the retirement home, our plucky quartet, reluctantly aided and abetted by a couple of local police detectives, set about to discover what’s happening.
We’re introduced to a tale of dubious delevopers, Kentish drug dealers, mysterious priests and much more.
But while this is all told with great humour, there’s also a very real side to a group of people who live in a home where residents suffer from all kinds of ailments, not least dementia. And this book doesn’t shy away from those things. It’s all very deftly handled by the author.
Given a writer who’s background is so versed in television from production to presenting, there are numerous little jokes relating to television, and daytime television in particular, along with the more expected humour that comes from the elderly tackling various elements of contemporary society.
This book could easily set up a series of crimes tackled by our fearless foursome, or it may be a standalone. I really liked meeting them, and hope that this is the former.
Thanks to the NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in return for an honest review. The Thursday Murder Club is published by Viking on 3 September 2020.