For their May read, Book Club chose The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. The author is known to many as host of TV Game Shows Pointless and House of Games, and won ‘Author of the Year’ for this his debut novel.
The book club were very divided by this book – several found it funny and enjoyed reading it very much – others were expecting something more academic from Richard Osman.
The scores rate from 5 to 9, with the majority giving an eight or nine.
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
On the site of an old Convent where the Nuns welcomed and looked after all those seeking help , a luxury Retirement Village Complex has been built. Once all the nuns had died, the Convent and Chapel became derelict and the site was developed by a Ian Ventham, creating this lovely village known as Coopers Chase with the help of builder Tony Curran and his gang of workmen. The development sits in twelve acres of woodland with a beautiful open hillside aspect. There are two small lakes, one real and one created. There are still sheep farmed at the very top of the hill and in the pastures by the lake is a herd of twenty llamas. Two were bought initially to look quirky in the sales photos but it got out of hand, as these things do.
There were a group of 4 residents Elizabeth (one is led to believe she worked for an organisation such a MI5 and appears to be able to call in favours from all manner of people) Penny (an unwell resident) used to be part of this group but she now residents in the Willows, the nursing area of the complex and Joyce has taken her place. Ron Ritchie who, when working with the Unions, was known as Red Ron and Ibrahim Arif.
This group formed what was known as The Thursday Murder Club trying to solve unsolved murders but little did they realise that they were about to experience helping to solve several unexplained murders just outside their front doors. Most of their activities are recorded by Joyce’s writing in her diary every night. PC Donna De Freitas came to the complex to give a talk on ‘Practical Tips for Home Security’ but whilst visiting Coopers Chase Retirement Village, which seemed an innocuous, lush, untroubled and sedate, she met up with Elizabeth and her jolly team.
A few weeks down the line after this visit, a brutal killing takes place within their confines and the group finds themselves in the middle of their first live case. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibraham and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves and when Donna and her boss DCI Chris Hudson visit the site to question the residents after the brutal murder of the builder Tony Curran, the group has specific information which could be of assistance to the Police as they witnessed an argument between Ian Ventham and Tony. They wished to trade their information for information from the Police. After the argument, Tony had been murdered in his own home a short distance from the complex with a photograph placed beside him showing 3 men in a local pub, one being Tony, another Jason Ritchie (Ron’s son and in earlier years a famous boxer also noted for dealing drugs) but the third person and the person taking the picture were unknown to anyone.
Ian Ventham was about to develop another part of the site which included a cemetery for the nuns and he did not particularly want Tony to be part of this development (looked to make more profits for himself) – several of the local population did not wish the cemetery to be disturbed, particularly a Father Mackie – a local priest. When the bulldozers arrived to commence work, the residents blocked the road much to the annoyance of Ian. Ian knowing that he did not want to have Tony as part of his team asked a Polish workman Bogdan, big and strong to take control of his new development plans. Whilst the diggers were prevented from reaching the allocated site, Bogdan took a shovel and became to dig the graves – he exposed one coffin but on top of this coffin were also the bones of another person with a shot gun wound to the leg. He quickly put everything back into the ground and wished to talk to someone about his find. He decided to visit Elizabeth, as she was always very kind to him. Elizabeth was on the case immediately and called in the favours of an expert friend who was able to examine the bones and give the group a history of these bones and the injury sustained by the skeleton. This information was what the group were waiting for – to whom did the bones belong and who murdered this person. In the meantime, whilst Bogdan was busy digging out the grave a heated argument took place between Ian and a group of the residents as they refused to allow the diggers onto the land – Ian turned from the group and immediately fell to the ground dead.
Can this unorthodox group solve not only the name of the skeleton but also who had murdered Tony Curran, so brutally in his own home, and who had administered a lethal injection into Ian Ventham to cause his death.
Who killed who – the book continues with its various plots?