The Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman


Review Rating:

Genre: Murder Mystery


I didn’t like this book by Richard Osman, the main reason being I didn’t actually feel like any of the characters were likeable, and yet I got the impression the (celebrity) author intended them to be. And yet, all of the characters felt like anti-heroes to me, or not even anti-heroes, because it didn’t feel deliberate. I just didn’t like any of them.

A few lines to show you what I mean:

“My daughter, Joanna, has a therapist, although you’d be hard pushed to know why if you saw the size of her house.”

“So everyone calms down through me. Quiet, sensible, Joyce. There is no more shouting and the problem is fixed, more often than not in a way that advantages me. Which is something no one ever seems to notice.”

To me, in the context of these characters, and this situation, these kinds of quotes read as both self-serving and offensive, where there were instances where I felt like they were meant to be read as charming, like when Joyce writes in her diary about when she took the last social outing with her husband and their close friends: “You always know when it’s your first time, don’t you? But you rarely know when it’s your final time. Anyway, I wish I had kept the programme.”

I get that after a point as an adult death and funerals become everyday and yet I felt this did a poor job of communicating that in any kind of poetic and meaningful way; it just came across as flippant to me.

The framing of the plot itself was interesting, and it nearly fell into what my partner and I call “the netflix effect” – the idea that the “big reveal” is essentially a pan to the left where no context clues or foreshadowing is given that the person who “did the thing” actually did the thing. In this book, the only crumbs started showing up with any real foreshadowing in the last 100 pages of the book, at which point they weren’t foreshadowing so much as revelations. So actually, I take it back. This book did fall prey to the netflix effect.

And to top it all off, the interiority we got was not from the brilliant mind deducing the murder, like we might in Sherlock Holmes, but a newcomer, an outsider, to this band of geriatric misfits. Someone who had no context for the relationships amongst folks. This might be an excuse then, to say, well, no wonder there was no foreshadowing earlier in the story…and I call bull. To me, it feels like a lazy plot device rather than an actual useful vehicle for storytelling, at least in this instance.

What was your experience reading The Thursday Murder Club?


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