Now this was an interesting book for me.
First and foremost, I loved the fact that it was set in a former convent, particularly as I used to live in one, albeit mine was a general residential development, rather than a retirement complex. Living in a place with so much history resonating through the buildings was a peaceful and restorative experience for me. And imagining the lives of the nuns, even as the octogenarian characters of the books got on with their rather intriguing exploits, added a certain pathos to the book.
Next of all, octogenarian protagonists! It was rather lovely to have such elderly characters dominating the narrative of this book. Characters who were brimming with life and personality, even as they recognised that they were reaching the end of their lives. Characters whose knowledge and experience of both love and loss was stitched so tightly into the fabric of their lives, that it was impossible not to feel for them.
So with the premise of the Thursday Murder Club being an excuse for the four members of the club to get together, drink wine, and discuss cold-case murders, the Club sounds find themselves investigating, not one, but two murders, connected to their own lives, right on their own doorstop.
This was a book that made me laugh, sorely needed in these dark times of lockdown. With an engaging mystery to absorb the reader, it is impossible not to like this book, simply because you warm to the characters. Their compassion mirrors our own.
I also loved how the personal insecurities of the investigating police officers were revealed as they conducted their investigation, with Donna fleeing a failed relationship, and Chris, desperately dieting so that he can embrace the world of online dating (with the wry observation that we all just want to be chosen chiming true in my own heart).
For me, the strength of the novel, though, lay not in how the plot unfolded. It was all about the individual arc of each of the characters. I really, really cared about our elderly protagonists, their innate recognition that life goes on, even in the face of loss, a reality made all the more poignant as Bernard’s story reaches its conclusion.
This is a book to give lighthearted entertainment, brimming with hope, and a desire to embrace life. It is a book for lockdown. The only time I felt sad reading this book, is when I wondered how this pandemic will have treated dear Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Roy. I hope they survive to bring us another mystery with the Thursday Murder Club.
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