Excerpt from The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Thursday Murder Club

by Richard Osman

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman X
The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2020, 368 pages

    Paperback:
    Aug 2021, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Debbie Morrison
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Print Excerpt

"Dear, I think we're all hoping this won't be a talk about window locks." The woman looked around her and picked up murmured support.

A gentleman hemmed in by a walking frame in the second row was next. "And no ID cards, please; we know about ID cards. 'Are you really from the gas board, or are you a burglar?' We've got it, I promise."

A free-for-all had commenced.

"It's not the gas board anymore. It's Centrica," said a man in a very smart three-piece suit.

The man sitting next to him, wearing shorts, flip-flops, and a West Ham United shirt, took this opportunity to stand up and stab a finger in no particular direction. "It's thanks to Thatcher that, Ibrahim. We used to own it."

"Oh, do sit down, Ron," the well-dressed woman had said. Then she looked at Donna and added, "Sorry about Ron," with a slow shake of her head. The comments had continued to fly.

"And what criminal wouldn't be able to forge an ID document?"

"I've got cataracts. You could show me a library card and I'd let you in."

"They don't even check the meter now, dear. It's all on the web."

"It's on the cloud, dear."

"I'd welcome a burglar. It would be nice to have a visitor."

There had been the briefest of lulls. An atonal symphony of whistles began as some hearing aids were turned up, while others were switched off. The woman in the front row had taken charge again.

"So ... and I'm Elizabeth, by the way ... no window locks, please, and no ID cards, and no need to tell us we mustn't give our PIN to Nigerians over the phone. If I am still allowed to say Nigerians."

Donna De Freitas had regrouped. She was aware she was no longer contemplating pub lunches or tattoos, but was instead thinking about a riot training course back in the good old days in South London.

"Well, what shall we talk about, then?" Donna asked. "I have to do at least forty-five minutes, or I don't get the time off in lieu."

"Institutional sexism in the police force?" said Elizabeth.

"I'd like to talk about the illegal shooting of Mark Duggan, sanctioned by the state and-"

"Sit down, Ron!"

So it went on, enjoyably and agreeably, until the hour was up, whereupon Donna was warmly thanked, shown pictures of grandchildren, and then invited to stay for lunch.

And so here she is, picking at her salad, in what the menu describes as a "contemporary upscale restaurant." Eleven forty-five is a little early for her to have lunch, but it wouldn't have been polite to refuse the invitation. She notes that her four hosts are not only tucking in to full lunches but have also cracked open a bottle of red wine.

"That really was wonderful, Donna," says Elizabeth. "We enjoyed it tremendously." Elizabeth looks to Donna like the sort of teacher who terrifies you all year but then gives you a grade A and cries when you leave. Perhaps it's the tweed jacket.

"It was blinding, Donna," says Ron. "Can I call you Donna, love?"

"You can call me Donna, but maybe don't call me love," says Donna.

"Quite right, darling," agrees Ron. "Noted. That story about the Ukrainian with the parking ticket and the chainsaw, though? You should do after-dinner speaking; there's money in it. I know someone, if you'd like a number?"

The salad is delicious, thinks Donna, and it's not often she thinks that.

"I would have made a terrific heroin smuggler, I think." This was Ibrahim, who earlier raised the point about Centrica. "It's just logistics, isn't it? There's all the weighing too, which I would enjoy, very precise. And they have machines to count money. All the mod cons. Have you ever captured a heroin dealer, PC De Freitas?"

"No," admits Donna. "It's on my list, though."

"But I'm right that they have machines to count money?" asks Ibrahim.

"They do, yes," says Donna.

"Wonderful," says Ibrahim, and downs his glass of wine.

"We bore easily," adds Elizabeth, also polishing off a glass. "God save us from window locks, WPC De Freitas."

Excerpted from The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. Copyright © 2020 by Richard Osman. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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