A few months ago, I told you that Lara, Nora and I had temporarily put our book club on hold. I also told you that despite that, I’d be continuing solo, making notes on what I was reading even if I had nobody else to show them to. Well, I can tell you now that I’ve kept my word, although it took me a while. My notebook tells me that I started Stardust, which I finished on 27 November, all the way back on April Fool’s Day!
Opening those blank pages and writing by hand has really come in useful so far. I’ve never been all that confident in my abilities as a reviewer, largely because I never feel like I have an opinion that’s detailed enough on anything. I just know, instinctively, whether I like something or not, and I don’t feel much of an inclination to pick it apart. If I want to fill my notebook, though, I have no choice but to jot down a paragraph or two. Wouldn’t want to waste the money I spent on it, would I?
Everything goes down, no matter how scattered or disjointed my thoughts are, because I don’t worry about refining them for an audience. I don’t even worry about Mum or Dad taking the book from my desk and flicking through it (they’d likely struggle to read my handwriting anyway). That takes the pressure off to some extent, so for a long time I was adamant that nobody would see my notes, because it might change the way I looked at them myself if they did. Nevertheless, a conversation with Mum last week got me thinking about whether I should give you a sneak peek as a one-off, so I put a little more thought into my notes this time around.
They’re for the sixth novel I’ve read since the beginning of the book club, Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club. During my recent weekend in Winchester, I fancied some crime fiction, and I wanted to see if Osman’s debut as an author really lived up to all the hype. I also read David Fisher’s Doctor Who: The Androids of Tara during the same period, but I figured my thoughts on that might not be as appealing to non-Whovians! Have a look at these words and see what you think – I definitely wouldn’t complain if you decided to enjoy it as much as I did. I’ve edited my original scribblings slightly for better clarity, but the general verdicts remain the same.
6. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
This was a fascinating murder mystery which was easy to follow, but still had plenty of depth. There was so much going on that I found I wasn’t even sure who I suspected – or if I suspected anyone at all – but this wasn’t a problem, as it just meant I was able to enjoy the story’s twists and turns without any distractions. I guess you could say I was savouring the journey, rather than concerning myself with the destination too much.
The protagonists are people you truly care about, and reading about the residents of Coopers Chase and the members of the titular club is a delight. Their speech patterns and eccentricities are so relatable and well-observed – I found myself picturing some of my own relatives as I went along – and they’re endearing too, undoubtedly contributing to the book’s overall warmth. There is some room for the reflection on loss and mortality that can accompany old age, but above all, The Thursday Murder Club serves to remind us that every second of life is precious and there to be lived. As long as it’s still in front of us, there’s still time for it to be well and truly grabbed by the horns.
I can’t wait for The Man Who Died Twice!