Book Review: The Thursday Murder Club

Spoiler Alert

Anyone who has not read The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman is hereby advised this post may contain a few unavoidable spoilers

I probably bought The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman for the same reason you did: I remembered how funny, likable and intelligent the author seemed to be on Pointless and thought that would mean his writing would be equally as funny, likable and intelligent.

Well, Richard Osman, if you’re ever looking for another one-sentence review to put on the back cover of future editions, feel free to use ‘”Funny, likable and intelligent” (Penstricken),’ because that’s a pretty accurate description of this debut mystery novel.

Now, let’s tear it to shreds.

This book boasts a fairly rich cast of vibrant characters who are just a tiny bit larger than life, resulting in deplorable sleaze balls like Ventham, outrageously lovable OAP sleuths like Elizabeth and a priest with a dark secret (actually, just about everybody’s got a dark secret), none of which would be our of place in an Agatha Christie novel. I even liked Chris and Donna as characters, though I did feel their romantic subplot a bit obvious and tedious from the outset, only for it to finally resolve in in Chris unexpectedly going out with Donna’s mum 😐.

Even though it is a mystery novel, there is a big emphasis on themes such as aging, bereavement, family and relationships and Osman executes all of these things with expert precision. Osman plays as a virtuoso on the audience’s heartstrings (actually, Mr. Osman, you can put that on the back cover), provoking amusement, sorrow and anticipation in a way which seems graceful and natural. For me, the interplay between the main players and the exploration of their personal lives are one of the best things about this book.

The mystery itself was perhaps a little too convoluted for my taste. It started off with one murder, followed by another, which led to the discovery of still another murder committed decades before, none of whom were committed by the same people (I think?). Throw in a few retired crooks going by various aliases, multiple POVs (including regular snippet’s from Joyce’s uh… journal?) plus a few dark secrets that aren’t murder and I must confess that by the end of the book I was a little confused by who killed who and why and when.

All in all, a strong debut. I’m not going to tell you who dunnit just in case I misunderstood because I don’t want to spoil it for you but it was a joy to read. Funny, likable and intelligent.

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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