The Thursday Murder Club
By Richard Osman
QUILTBAG Main Character: No
QUILTBAG Minor Character: Yes
Main Character of Color: No
Bechdel Test: Yes
Summary: Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron may look like your typical retirement village residents, but that’s only if you don’t know what they do in the Jigsaw Room every Thursday. This group of unlikely detectives attempt to solve cold cases in their free time, buteverything changes when a local developer is found dead, when there is no sign of a break-in and the suspects keep piling up. The Thursday Murder Club decides it’s done with cold cases, now that there’s a murder much closer to home to solve. But soon the waters of the case get even murkier and everyone, yes everyone, is a suspect. Secrets, long buried (literally and figuratively), will come to light before everything is said and done.
Let’s Get A Little Deep:
Before she was a full-time mother and educator, my mother was an investigative reporter. I imagine the job came rather naturally to her because she is an absolute natural when it comes to taking clues and putting together the truth. She’ll guess, usually accurately, the ending of every mystery movie or TV show. She’ll read books and spot whodunits long before the leads. I’m not sure if it is my mother’s influence or the fact that I simply read such a great deal that I’ve become adept and anticipating next moves in murder mysteries and, usually, the ending.
I picked up The Thursday Murder Club because I had been hearing a lot of great buzz around it. It looked interesting enough, and I’m always down for a good murder story. I didn’t expect to fall completely in love with the story and the characters. I didn’t expect to be aggressively pushing the book on family and friends. But here we are!
It isn’t just that I was completely surprised by most of the book, which takes the reader on no shortage of twists and turns. The surprise at the end was equal parts delightful as it was shocking. I don’t think I’ve read a book like it in a good while. But it isn’t just that it managed to take me by surprise but also because it was so fun to read.
Ok, I know how that sounds. A murder mystery being a fun read suggest that it is either not a serious story or did a poor job of holding the tension. But actually, The Thursday Murder Club has moments of incredible heartbreak, moments that had me tearing up. The tension was also very well executed, holding the reader tight as the story unfolded in its many layers.
All these things combine with the very best part of the book: the characters. Much like an Agatha Christie novel, it is complex characters that ultimately drive the plot. Every character, no matter how much time spent on the page, is a deeply complex person. It is this complexity that makes everyone a suspect, that makes us care about the outcome of the story, and that ultimately ties every other element up with a perfect bow (another phrase I have taken directly from my mother). The fact that this book balances plot, humor, grief, and character development so well is exactly why it is a five-star read for me.
Even if you don’t usually read mysteries I suggest giving The Thursday Murder Club a try. The humanity in these characters and the incredibly crafted plot make it well worth your time.
Thanks for going a little deep with me! I post reviews every other Thursday. Did you love The Thursday Murder Club? Leave a comment with your favorite murder mystery movie or TV show. You can also find me on Twitter @gwasserst! Special thanks to Yasi (@yasaminnb) for editing my posts.