Thursday Murder Club review: Steady, but decent.
Chances are if you're a fan of crime books, you've heard of this one. Written by the Pointless host Richard Osman, I had reservations about this because I usually find celeb-written books are just a bit...meh. Thinking would it have done well if they weren't well known before it got published, or would it even have got published without their name on the front cover? Most of the time - probably not.
However, this was the fastest selling adult crime debut since records began, so I figured there must be some truth in that impressive achievement.
This time I was pleasantly surprised though. The story follows a group of pensioners in an upmarket care home/retirement village who spend their time working on unsolved crimes from Kent Police.
The group are faced with the murder of a developer wanting to transform the neighbouring graveyard and surrounding land. There's a couple of murders along the way and as expected, everything turns out to be linked in the end to a historic crime.
The club work hand-in-hand with a couple of detectives to share information and eventually solve the crime. This was one element that didn't work with me. Yes it's a nice idea that detectives would pop round to a retirement home to work together with some pensioners, and even share information with them, but how believeable is that really? I can go along with things to a point, but this just got a bit too twee at times. At one point the pensioners even break the law (like, REALLY break the law) and after a slice of cake all is forgotten. I get that Osman was trying to create an endearing and unique story where the old characters aren't just someone's grandparent in the background, but it just got too ridiculous at times for me.
That being said, the characters were the strength to this book. I've never read anything where the older characters are the focus, they're only ever a secondary character. Their humour and charm really worked. I also loved Joyce's diary entries throughout, they showed us behind the velvet curtain of how one of the club members felt through the investigations, adding a human quality to the otherwise cool exterior the pensioners had when they were dealing with murder and criminals.
I wasn't into the ending though. The problem I had was that the people who were murdered weren't likeable characters in the first place. They were painted as greedy businessmen from page one, which meant that when they were murdered I wasn't that bothered about finding out who had done it. This, teamed with lots of characters with unnecessary detail and side stories added in towards the end, meant it all became convoluted and I found myself having to re-read sections to make sure I was following it. Not everything was tied up either and the murderer walked free which left me feeling a bit deflated by the end.
There are more Thursday Murder Club books to come, and I'll probably read them, but I wasn't blown away by this. If like the steady crime dramas on ITV/BBC you will probably like this though.
Interestingly, Steven Spielberg has got the film rights to this, so it will be good to see that when it eventually comes out. They start production next year, and with older characters in the spotlight I think it's a great opportunity to get some heavyweight actors in like Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi (not that I've thought about casting at all...).
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