I’ve decided that this is the week of adventurey, mystery, capers novels – so this weeks series post is about Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder club series – the third of which was (one of) my holiday book present(s) to myself for Sicily!
The set up is this: four friends who live at the same retirement complex meet up every Thursday morning to examine unsolved murder cases. Excerpt somehow Ron, Ibrahim, Joyce and Elizabeth keep getting mixed up in actual murders and mysteries. As we’ve gone through the series we’ve learned more about each member of the group – but also added more characters into the wider circle. I think you could have read the second book without having read the first and still got most of it, but in book three you definitely need to know what has gone before.
They’ve been credited as reviving the cozy crime genre in the UK, which I think is a bit of a stretch because there were lots of good mystery novels before these appeared, but they are doing something a little bit different. Most of the other series have focused on one person solving the crime, but this has the core four – and the narrative switches between an omnipotent narrator floating over the action where the reader knows more than any of the characters and sections written from Joyce’s point of view.
Elizabeth actually has a lot in common with Billie in Killers of a Certain Age, but the rest of group are very different – Ron was a trade union rabble rouser, Ibrahim was a psychologist and Joyce was mostly a housewife and all of them have issues relating to their age that they have to deal with it (I’m not telling you what though and this also adds a richness and texture to the books – where they can bring tears to your eyes.
Would they have broken through if someone else had written them? Well, Richard Osman is obviously a well known name here in the UK which meant that they had an enormous amount of hype and prepublicity before the first one came out – but they’re still selling and doing well three books in and I don’t think people would still be coming back in such numbers if there wasn’t something a little bit special about them. And they’re a book that lots of people I know have read – even if they don’t normally read this sort of book so they make for a great swiss army recommendation – if you can just find someone who hasn’t already read it yet! I’ve been keeping an eye on the charity shops too – and these don’t seem to be cropping up in the same sort of numbers as some of the other celeb-written novels either. And if you want to know more about the first two – you can read my book of the week posts about them here and here. They’ve also spawned a string of similar sort of novels – as big sellers often do. I’m trying to work my way through a few of them so I can offer some recommendations for people looking for a similar sort of vibe. Watch this space!
Anyway, if you haven’t already read them, start at the beginning and go from there. You can buy them pretty much everywhere and in every format.