Having said that, it is clear that The Thursday Murder Club author, Richard Osman, is a spider with DNA in his genes. He begins with many characters, everybody turning to build the web until he takes us to the center where the real culprit is found.
Four seniors living in the retirement community, Cooper’s Chase, spend their hours meeting and discussing cold-case files every Thursday trying to solve crimes that police cannot.
Each brings her own skills and background to the group: Joyce Meadowcroft is the last person to be invited to join and she seems to have played an inofficial role as a writer when she writes in her journal about the events and the activities of the club.
Then there’s Elizabeth, who’s a bit dumb background. She has contacts in the underworld of government, contacts that are useful as history goes on. Her past role in life is not clearly explained, but there are insinuations.
“Red” In his younger years Ron Ritchie, an activist who has spoken for decades, is a powerful contributor to the group; and Ibrahim Arif, a retired therapist, wants to know people in his cold case files. This is indeed a Thursday Murder Club team.
It’s a relatively quiet, intense group in their studies until Tony Curran is assassinated. Tony, a minor partner with Ian Ventham (a retirement developer), was dismissed by Ian, and Ian’s guilt questions in Tony’s death began to fly across the community.
Enter your PC. Donna De Freitas, a woman in the policing world of a man, began developing a relationship with members of the club. They like her. They like her. And they want her to take part in the inquiry. Chris Hudson, the detective in charge of the investigation, thinks he has sufficient team members and Donna is all right to bring them coffee.
Elizabeth changes that with her hidden contacts and Donna is placed in the team. The Thursday Murder Club has now a real killing to investigate and they are one step ahead of Donna and Chris with their individual skills and yet they share information.
In the meantime, Ian puts his plan on another stage of the retirement home to develop an ancient cemetery and citizens’ revolt — well, just as any septuagintarian or octogenarian will revolt. The residents are in a pique-shape with Ian and he falls dead—not by accident, and now the death of the main suspect of the club in the murder of Tony Curran sends him back to the starting line. They have only two murders to solve now, and there is a growing cast of possible suspects, even among themselves.
There is Bernard Cottle, a retired professor of science who has a secret in the cemetery he does not want to disclose. Ron’s son, Jason Ritchie, has a dark background and a past association that has brought him to the fore. Bring Gianni Gunduz and Bobby Tanner, both of whom had not been well connected with Tony in the past, and then Bogdan, Tony’s substitute for Ian, who is the fixer of every aspect and minor partner of Ian.
If Tony Curran and Ian Ventham’s assassinations are not sufficient to energize the club, a skeleton is found on the cemetery – a skeleton that isn’t there. The bodies pile up and the club must not only find murderers—or killers, but must expose the numerous secrets of their lives.
The Thursday Murder Club is a quick and sometimes funny reading. Osman has done an excellent job of bringing his characters to life and making them real. This is certainly a cold, rainy evening with a cup of tea and scones.