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  • Writer's pictureJulie Mackin

It Takes a (Retirement) Village

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman

2023 Frenzied Bibliophile Challenge Category: Recommended Book

Ratings:4 of 5

Will you like this book: You might if you like:

  • Father Brown or Midsomer Murders

  • English country villages

  • Multiple narrators

  • Flashbacks within stories

  • Oldies but goodies

I’ve seen this book around and the design caught my eye but I never picked it up for some reason. A coworker recommended it to me and since I trust her implicitly when it comes to reading, I dove into it. And am I ever so happy I did! Now I have a fun new cozy murder mystery series to start. In an English retirement village no less, a setting that speaks to my soul.

Three octogenarians, Elizabeth, Ron, and Ibrahim, meet on Thursdays to solve cold cases but just as they are welcoming their newest member, Joyce, a real murder takes place and the four decide to help the police. Not that the police, in the form of Police Constable Donna De Freitas and Detective Chris Hudson, are sure they want the help but after an interesting meeting involving some spiked cakes, they decide why not. The six make an unlikely team, but with the help of some outside resources, including the retirees children, they solve not one, but three murders. All in a day's work.

The interaction amongst the characters makes the story great; All of our “detectives” have great backstories and it was a fun diversion from the mystery. I appreciated the thoughtful way in which Osman treated issues affecting older people, like dementia, loss of spouse, distance from children. After I finished, I remembered who killed who, but what stuck with me was the personalities in the story. It certainly made me want to read the next book in the series.

Two caveats: the story has various points of view and whole chapters are basically Joyce’s diary entries, which move the plot along. If you aren’t someone who likes to switch POV, then this might not be the right book for you. And second, as I mentioned, since this is the first book, we get a lot of backstory and though there is a mystery at times it plays second fiddle, which for me was perfectly fine and again, what I expect in a cozy, but if you are a reader looking for a straight up mystery, this might not be the book for you.

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