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June 17, 2022

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman ~ an Audiobook Review

by Elisabeth Scherer

Do you ever wonder what happens to people with certain skills as they age? The popular move RED and RED 2 showed us what retired spies might just do with their free time. Take a former labor activist “Red” Ron, a psychologist named Ibrahim, a former nurse named Joyce, and, Elizabeth, who is an enigma of her own, and throw in a cold case murder case and you have what is Richard Osman’s brilliant debut, The Thursday Murder Club (Thursday Murder Club #1).

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book cover of cozy mystery The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
September 2020; Penguin
audio (12h 26m), ebook, print; cozy mystery

Just like any of your favorite Cozy mysteries you have the “Scooby Gang” who try their hand at being amateur sleuths. This time however it is set in a peaceful retirement community of Cooper’s Chase’s septuagenarians. From cold case to live case, the club seems to be right in the action as a body is found with a connection to Cooper’s Chase.

Osman approaches this genre with gusto and doesn’t disappoint. He has a way of creating the story with twists and turns that I generally didn’t see the end coming. Usually, with cozy mysteries, there is a point in the plot line where I can draw the conclusion of the story. Osman had me hooked once I understood his kaleidoscope perspective and he rose to the top of my 2022 best read list with his cleverness, genuine characters, and wit that had me laughing several times out loud.

This novel was brought to my attention during one of my book club sessions and the way that my fellow book friends talked about it, I knew I just had to read it too. I ended up listening to this book as one of my Audible credits and I am so glad I did.  The bonus of the audiobook was an interview at the end with bestselling Fiction authors Marian Keyes and Richard Osman. It really helps you figure out how he approached writing this book and it was a nice little bonus after finishing the audiobook. The only downside I really found with the book is there seems to be so many chapters that it detracted from the book and I wonder if there would have been a way to combine some chapters to be less intimidating.

The book opens with Joyce, a former nurse, sitting in the restaurant at Cooper’s Chase and Elizabeth, another resident, approaching her for some “professional” advice on a knife wound. From then on the hijinks, these ladies, and their two friends, Ibrahim and Ron, get up just made me fall in love with the entire cast. Fast forward and a developer of an expansion near Cooper’s Chase is found dead with a photo next to the body and the gang decides they need to figure out who did it. Elizabeth seems to have a unique set of skills that suggest she might have led a life of espionage but is still clearly working with a very sharp mind. 

The gang befriends a pair of police officers and soon as the bodies start piling up, the friends’ insatiable need to solve the puzzle creates a flurry of excitement. Osman weaves the classic cozy mystery plotline in with vivid looks at different experiences that some of the residents at Cooper’s Chase are dealing with as they take in the latter part of their lives.

Will they find all the answers? Will we find out what exactly Elizabeth did as a job, and will the hijinks catch up with the “Scooby Gang.” Read this book if you love quirky cozy mysteries, retired spies, or if you like it when the author makes you laugh or makes you drool with all the talk of cakes and tea. Check back for my review of the second book in Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series, The Man Who Died Twice.  

Finally, I will leave you with the same words of advice the ladies in my book club gave me when I said I needed to read this book. Stick with the beginning, as it seems a bit slow and can be a bit confusing with the multiple points of view. If you stick with it, I think you will be glad you did. 

Elisabeth Scherer is a lifelong bookworm who loves discovering new favorite authors. She is a watercolor and mixed media artist who lives in Minnesota with her husband and two children.

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