Murder Words

By Lauren Tighe

How do you like to spend your Thursdays? Perhaps you knock back endless cups of tea pondering ways to purge yourself of boredom, or perhaps you too, are engrossed in solving jigsaw puzzles and murder mysteries, such as the likes of the four over-involved OAPs that form ‘The Thursday Murder Club’.  Growing up, were you an astute student, or did you use to fantasize about a mutiny against your headmistress? A mutiny that might have gone too far… Does your village have a hall that has become progressively eerie, the perfect abandoned building to discard a body? Murder Words will quench your thirst for excitement.

When was the last time you felt the squeezing embrace of a loved one?

Was it comforting or was it suffocating, such as the case for poor Kiki Pew? Perhaps it was recently, from someone in your household, someone who might spend hours tinkering in the garage on their secret hobbies, what else could be lurking in there? You might ask yourself why murder mysteries have become such a big part of popular culture. According to criminology professor Scott Bonn, they provide us with the chance to experience thrill and excitement without real risk. Murder Words features page-turning, suspense building, outrageously funny novels that will insert thrill and excitement into your Thursdays.

‘The Thursday Murder Club’ by Richard Osman

How do you spend your Thursdays? Surely, they are no match for the excitement of OAPs Elizabeth’s, Ron’s, Joyce’s, and Ibrahim’s? Set in a retirement village, these four unlikely friends spend their Thursday afternoons investigating cold cases. They form the exclusive society, ‘The Thursday Murder Club’. When a fresh murder occurs, they jump at the chance to get involved, racing against the police to be the first to uncover new clues. We see the story unfold through the eyes of each character, really bringing them to life, to the point where you begin to read in funny voices. This hilarious ‘whodunit’, featuring pensioners that always have a trick up their sleeves could remind you of the absurdities of ‘Scooby-Doo’ meets ‘Murder She Wrote’, providing light-hearted afternoon entertainment.   “I would’ve gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for those meddling [pensioners]”.

‘A Body in the Village Hall’ by Dee MacDonald

Do you have a village hall? When was the last time you paid a visit? Kate Palmer, a practice nurse moves to Cornwall to experience the quiet life. Unbeknownst to Kate, the quiet life couldn’t be further from what’s in store. Within two weeks of her arrival, she discovers the body of a brutal murder victim in the village hall. Upon her grisly discovery, Kate works alongside the local detective to uncover the truth. The pair develop a close relationship forming a love interest. Will they find the killer in time? Will romance blossom? MacDonald provides the balance of charming location, village gossip, and red herrings. It is cheesy but in the best way.

‘Who Killed Miss Finch?’ by Peter Boon

Did you detest your headteacher growing up? Edward Crisp, the shy school librarian loves a ‘whodunnit’ novel. However, when he becomes a suspect, his enthusiasm weakens. Set in a quiet coastal village, Miss Finch, the unpopular headteacher is found dead. Boon provides the perfect cozy ‘whodunnit’ that you can thumb through in one sitting. The light-hearted tone will have you laughing whilst guessing, you will be hooked from the first page.

‘Squeeze Me’ by Carl Hiaasen

How long has it been since your last embrace? We follow the tale of Kiki Pew, who receives an unpleasant squeeze in Hiaasen’s new novel. Kiki’s disappearance and body are found during the Palm Beach charity ball season causing mass panic. Her circle of friends reaches out to their beloved president who falsely blames immigrants for Kiki’s death. It takes Angie Armstrong, a wildlife expert, to help us discover the amusing and unexpected cause of death. Hiaasen’s satirical poke at current politics and downright absurdity make this novel a fantastic read.

‘Guilt at the Garage’ by Simon Brett

Guilt at the Garage’ is part of the Fethering Village Mysteries’ which follows the amateur sleuthing duo Carol and Jude. Carol finds that her car has been vandalized and there is a note that illudes to threats for her safety. Bill, the local mechanic, is tasked with the repairs. Unfortunately for Bill, he encounters a somewhat humor death by a gearbox. Rumors spread, and it is up to Carol and Jude to find the truth.  

‘Shooting Lessons’ by Lenny kleinfeld

The inadequate Detective Bergman must investigate the serial killings that are occurring towards the staff of Makro (taxi service). Kleinfeld’s cynical and sarcastic humor makes the toils of Bergman hilarious to follow. Bergman navigates towards the truth, whilst dealing with a paranoid snitch, the American Gun Association, and several other troublesome characters.

‘Dover One’ by Joyce Porter

We finish with a classic; Dover One which is part of a seven-book series. We follow Detective Chief Inspector Wilfred Dover, a lazy, bumbling, unenthused oaf, whom we somehow grow to love. Scotland Yard rid themselves of Dover, sending him to investigate a murder case in the countryside. For instance, his reliance on other people’s hard work and his lack of competency, make him a rather obnoxiously funny character. He can’t seem to get things right, much like ‘Mr. Bean’.

Murder Words aims to provide you with sinfully amusing entertainment that will keep you going until your next big squeeze. As a result of this read, you might form your own Thursday Murder Club, who knows? If you enjoyed ‘Easy Readers’ you might also be interested in ‘Unlighted Life’.

All of the novels listed in Murder Words can be purchased by clicking on the title names below:

The Thursday Murder Club, A Body in the Village Hall, Who Killed Miss Finch? Squeeze Me, Guilt at the Garage, Shooting Lessons, Dover One.

You can read Scott Bonn’s (criminology professor) article here.