I was not expecting to enjoy The Thursday Murder Club as much as I did. Too much publishing hype is usually a turn-off for me. No offence, but I find that some established, reputable publishers are turning out an awful lot of crap-for-profit books these days. (I can see why, but still…)
Despite my misgivings, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Yes, I know the author is funny on TV, but that doesn’t necessarily always translate into a good book. It’s funny, well written, well structured and very engaging. Not fall-off-your-seat funny, not ‘hilarious’ situations; rather your typical, understated British-TV-show humour. Casual and clever wit. Very BBC Friday/Saturday night.. You’ll know yourself if that’s your thing or not.
Maybe it was because I had just finished a very sad literary novel (excellent book also, but not easy reading), but reading The Thursday Murder Club was a very welcome, lighthearted and refreshing reprieve.
It is set in and around an upscale retirement community somewhere in the south of England. The main characters are residents. However, instead of the clichéd old folks one might expect, these guys are well-rounded characters with distinct backstories. Each of them is defined not simply as an old man or woman, but as an older version of their former professional selves. Still mentally active and still with connections to the rest of the world. There’s ex-spy chief Elizabeth, former psychiatrist Ibrahim, former trades union leader Ron and former nurse Joyce; all very different and bringing their own qualities, skills – and backgrounds – to the team. On the police side, there’s the Chris and Donna duo. The interplay between the two of them and between them as a team and the Murder Club, is very well done and adds to the fun and plot twists.
Noteworthy – Joyce keeps a diary that is interspersed through the story. It’s very, very funny as well as providing variety in the narrative structure.
The plot is, like its characters, rather rambling and at times makes no sense, but it all makes sense in the end. Lots of unexpected twists. Sure, you could argue that it is far-fetched… Of course it is! It’s a comedic cozy mystery set in a retirement community, for goodness sake! If you’re looking for highly accurate social realism, you’re reading the wrong book.
What makes this book such a pleasure to read is its warmth and compassion, along with the wit and fun. It’s character driven. So it’s wonderful to know there’s at least one more book in the offing. I want more of this!
My thanks to Netgalley for giving me a free copy of this book. All my reviews are 100% honest and unbiased, regardless of how I acquire the book.
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