Chances are if you’re a fan of crime books, you’ve heard of this one. Written by the Pointless host Richard Osman, I had reservations about this because I usually find celeb-written books are just a bit…meh. Thinking would it have done well if they weren’t well known before it got published, or would it even have got published without their name on the front cover? Most of the time — probably not.
However, this was the fastest selling adult crime debut since records began, so I figured there must be some truth in that impressive achievement.
This time I was pleasantly surprised though. The story follows a group of pensioners in an upmarket care home/retirement village who spend their time working on unsolved crimes from Kent Police.
The group are faced with the murder of a developer wanting to transform the neighbouring graveyard and surrounding land. There’s a couple of murders along the way and as expected, everything turns out to be linked in the end to a historic crime.
The club work hand-in-hand with a couple of detectives to share information and eventually solve the crime. This was one element that didn’t work with me. Yes it’s a nice idea that detectives would pop round to a retirement home to work together with some pensioners, and even share information with them, but how believeable is that really? I can go along with things to a point, but this just got a bit too twee at times. At one point the pensioners even break the law (like, REALLY break the law) and after a slice of cake all is forgotten. I get that Osman was trying to create an endearing and unique story where the old characters aren’t just someone’s grandparent in the background, but it just got too ridiculous at times for me.
That being said, the characters were the strength to this book. I’ve never read anything where the older characters are the focus, they’re only ever a secondary character. Their humour and charm really worked. I also loved Joyce’s diary entries throughout, they showed us behind the velvet curtain of how one of the club members felt through the investigations, adding a human quality to the otherwise cool exterior the pensioners had when they were dealing with murder and criminals.