cover image The Thursday Murder Club

The Thursday Murder Club

Richard Osman. Viking/Dorman, $26 (368p) ISBN 978-1-984-88096-3

British TV celebrity Osman mixes mirth and murder in his exceptional debut, a series launch featuring the four members of the Thursday Murder Club, residents of the Coopers Chase Retirement Village in Kent. Despite their different backgrounds, Elizabeth , Ibrahim, Joyce, and Ron share an interest in solving mysteries. When 26-year-old Donna De Freitas, a police constable who dreams of pursuing serial killers, visits the home to talk to the pensioners about “Practical Tips for Home Security,” the club members arrange for Donna to be assigned to a homicide case they have a connection to by manipulating her boss, so that they can get access to the investigation through a grateful Donna. That way they can take a crack at solving the bludgeoning murder of drug dealer Tony Curran, who operated a building business as a front, and whose killer left a photo of three men, one of whom is Ron’s son, near Curran’s corpse. They use their individual talents, including Joyce’s gift for gathering information unobtrusively, and Ibrahim’s medical knowledge, which enables him to narrow the timing of a second, related killing. Osman’s witty prose (labor activist Ron’s “picture was rarely in the papers without the caption ‘Talks between the two sides collapsed late last night’”) is a highlight. Fans of Lynne Truss’s Constable Twitten mysteries will be tickled. Agent: Juliet Mushens, Mushens Entertainment (U.K.). (Sept.)