Thursday 31 December 2020

Book Review - The Thursday Murder Club


Title: The Thursday Murder Club

Author: Richard Osman

Series: Thursday Murder Club (Book 1) 

Publisher: Viking 

Release Date: 3 Sept. 2020 

ISBN-13: 978-0241425442


Four septuagenarians with a few tricks up their sleeves
A female cop with her first big case
A brutal murder
Welcome to…

In a peaceful retirement village, four unlikely friends meet weekly in the Jigsaw Room to discuss unsolved crimes; together they call themselves The Thursday Murder Club. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron might be pushing eighty but they still have a few tricks up their sleeves.

When a local developer is found dead with a mysterious photograph left next to the body, the Thursday Murder Club suddenly find themselves in the middle of their first live case. As the bodies begin to pile up, can our unorthodox but brilliant gang catch the killer, before it’s too late?

My Review

I am a bit of a Richard Osman fan, my husband and I love to watch his gameshow - The House of Games and have enjoyed watching him on other panel shows, so when I saw that he had written a book I was instantly intrigued and I added it to my wishlist. I'm not a massive crime novel fan, but i love Sherlock Holmes and what I guess you would call 'gentle murder mysteries'. So i believed I would be good with this one.

My husband being his amazing self, bought me this book as an extra Christmas present and having just finished another book, I dived straight in. The book is set in Coopers Chase Retirement Village somewhere around Kent. We meet Joyce who has just moved in, was an ex nurse and gets along with nearly everyone. She meets Elizabeth who has been at the village for a while and is quite the presence - commanding and persuasive. She is part of the Thursday Murder Club, a group who meet up every week to try and solve old crime cases, particularly unsolved murders. Part of this group is also Ibrahim - a retired psychiatrist and Ron who is very opinionated and likes to cause a stir. The club is just a bit of fun, until the builder and developer named Tony is murdered after leaving Coopers Chase, now there is a real death and actual suspects to look into, right on their doorstep. None of them are put off and piece by piece they start trying to solve the case. They manage to get on the good side of a young police officer who is looking for a bit more involvement and excitement in her career and through sharing information things start to add up, but then more bodies start to pile up, and more suspects come to light - are the group in deeper than they imagined?

I really liked Osman's writing style - at times I could imagine him reading it and it was just how he talks on TV, it had a real quaint feel to him and just made you want to read more. I like Joyce as a narrator, she has her own chapters that are presented more like diary entries, whereas the other chapters are third person and focus on different characters from in and around the retirement village.

Elizabeth is very headstrong and I had to remind myself that she was an 80 year old, not 50. She is still feisty and refusing to give into old age. I loved Ibrahim's calm nature and matter of fact, almost autistic personality. Ron is like a raging bull at times but you can tell he has a good heart. 

In fact, all of the characters have very distinct personalities and really came to life on the page, I could picture them all and could imagine the whole place and people, it is written so that it comes to life from the page, it all seems like you could go and meet these people.

I found the book a little slow in places but it would always pick up again and carry you through. Some of the revelations at the end were a bit confusing and I had to re-read a couple of paragraphs to make sure I had understood what had happened - particularly with Penny's story. But overall everything is tied together quite well and the ends are neatly folded. I am excited to see that there will be a second book out next September and I am curious to see where he takes it next.

I would definitely recommend this as an interesting, fairly fast paced gentle crime with great characters and some interesting twists.

My Rating


Book Review - The Cousins


Title: The Cousins

Author: Karen M. McManus 

Publisher: Penguin 

Release Date: 3 Dec. 2020 

ISBN-13 : 978-0241376942


The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence:
You know what you did.
They never hear from her again.
Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother's resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who's been such an enigma their entire lives.
This entire family is built on secrets, right? It's the Story legacy.
This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone.

My Review

I absolutely love Karen McManus, i devoured all of her books during lockdown in May and was desperate for her to release something else. I was then browsing online one day and this popped up, so I decided to treat myself and order it (i needed to make up costs to cover postage anyway, but really who needs an excuse!)

This sounded quite different from her other works but I was excited to get stuck in. We have three cousins - Milly, Aubrey and Jonah, they haven't ever met their grandmother and haven't really met each other either. 24 years ago, their parents were sent away from their home with a note saying 'you know what you did'. All four of the Storey's deny knowing what that note means, and have just come to terms with life away from their mother and their legacy. But there is definitely something going on, as the once close siblings are now quite isolated and their children have grown up not really knowing the rest of their family or much information about their parent's past. So it comes as a shock when the 3 cousins receive a letter from their grandmother inviting them to her resort for the summer. Is she trying to finally connect with her grandchildren or is there something more sinister going on? The three reluctantly agree to go, keen to discover what really happened all those years ago.

The story is narrated by alternative perspectives, Milly,  Aubrey and Jonah. Each have agreed to attend for the summer for very different reasons, Milly and Aubrey soon become good friends, but Jonah just seems moody and unwelcoming. Straight away you see some cracks in the group dynamic but you also see that there is potential for more there.

The grandmother at the resort if very mysterious, she disappears almost as soon as the cousins arrive and very few people actually interact with her, of course this sets off alarm bells in the readers head and I must admit, part of the big twist and revelation at the end seemed quite obvious to me from fairly early on. 

This book was a bot slower than McManus' other works and I will admit that I didn't enjoy it as much, but regardless of that, it was still a good read and I finished it in 2 fairly short sittings. The story has enough drama and intrigue to keep you interested and wanting to know more, but I didn't feel like I connected or cared about the characters as much as her other books. In fact, my favourite character was probably Archer and he starts off very much as a side character, though he becomes more involved.

I was interested enough to see how the whole mystery panned out and that was enough to keep me hooked.  

This has in no way put me off McManus' works and I will still read everything that she releases as they are compelling little stories in their own right and I really like her style.

My Rating


Saturday 19 December 2020

Book Review - Enola Holmes and the Case of the Missing Marquess


Title: Enola Holmes and the Case of the Missing Marquess

Author: Nancy Springer

Series: Enola Holmes (Book 1) 

Publisher : Hot Key Books

Release Date: 24 Sept. 2020 

ISBN-13 : 978-1471408960


Introducing London's newest and greatest detective: Enola Holmes

When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock, discovers her mother has disappeared, she embarks on a journey to London in search of her. But nothing can prepare her for what awaits. She finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, fleeing murderous villains, and trying to elude her shrewd older brothers-all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother's strange disappearance. Will Enola be able to decode the necessary clues and find her mother? 


My Review

I have always been a fan of Sherlock Holmes and heard that there was a spin off movie but didn't get round to watching it (Still haven't but it's on my list). I was heading into hospital last week for surgery and my amazing best friend, who I always call my little sister, bought me this book to take in with me to help pass my recovery time. 

This book is quite short at just under 200 pages, but was perfect for a nice easy read without needing too much focus. I didn't really know what to expect from it but hoped I would enjoy it and I did.

Enola is 14 years old, lives in a big house with her mother and 2 assistants - Mr & Mrs Lane, and isn't afraid to be adventurous. Her mother has never forced her to be ladylike and actually likes to protest against the restrictions placed on women. Enola has always been a bit of a scandal, she was a very late baby in her mother's life and has been outcast by her older brothers Mycroft and Sherlock. Enola is free to roam the local town, go out riding on her bike and explore the local landmarks, but then one morning her mother disappears. Enola immediately goes out to try and trace her whereabouts, but nobody has seen her and she has left most of her possessions behind. It is a real mystery. Inspired by her brother Sherlock's mystery solving skills, Enola is convinced that she can do just as good a job, but when things get too complicated she ends up contacting her brothers for help. The pair treat her like a child and seem to show no real care about her mother, who it turns out has been gathering money from Mycroft under the pretense of hiring tutors and gardeners for the house, but in reality been hiding the cash. They conclude she has run off on her own and it's best to leave her to it. But Enola can't give up now and must know the truth, so she sets out for London to try and solve the mystery. On her way she gets caught up in another mystery that very nearly jeopardizes her life.

I loved Enola's attitude towards life in general, she is a lot like me in terms of being adventurous, stubborn and quite a tom boy. She doesn't care what other people really think, instead she is more determined to uncover truth and justice. She can be quite naive at times and jump into a situation without thinking first which ends up causing her more trouble in the long run. 

The story was good, it had enough twists and turns to keep me interested. The only downside for me was that it lacked the same level of description as a Sherlock Holmes book, with Conan Doyle's stories I always felt like I was right there with Sherlock and that I had a chance to solve the mystery before him if I was good enough. But with Enola, I felt like she was taking me along but I was only seeing what she wanted me to, which made me feel at a disadvantage. I enjoyed her adventure and the way she got involved in the case but it lacked the traditional Holmes charm.

It was a nice easy read which was perfect for the situation I was in, but overall I would like a bit more to the novel, just to really bring it to life. But definitely worth reading if you are a fan of the Holmes universe.

My Rating