In this fourth installation of the Thursday Murder Club, Richard Osman’s four 80-year-old residents (plus or minus, but who can keep track at that age when there new aches to fend off and fresh gossip to keep abreast of) of Cooper’s Chase senior living center find themselves engaged in a drug smuggling scheme.
As the book opens, another senior citizen, still working as the proprietor of a nearby antiques shop, is murdered. And also a newcomer to Cooper’s Chase has succumbed to on-line romance fraud. In the first case it becomes quickly apparent that the murder is instigated by a drug deal gone wrong and in the second it is going to take some persuasion to convince Mervin that continuing to send money to Tatiana in Moldova is not likely to bring the author of carefully crafted love letters, and accompanying generic Internet photos, to England anytime soon.
True to the best of crime fiction, Osman’s mysteries are compelling, but the real joy is what is learned in the surrounding milieu. In this case, it is Richard Osman’s kind and poignant descriptions of the four octogenarian friends that remind us that entrance to a senior living center is not a death sentence. On the contrary we are given ample opportunity to observe lives well lived even as the participants know their remaining days are limited. Maybe their lives are so rich precisely because they know. A lesson for all of us.