Wednesday, May 04, 2022

The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood

First Line: Mrs. Judith Potts was seventy-seven years old and entirely happy with her life.
Nothing ever happens in the village of Marlow on the banks of the River Thames. Whisky-drinking seventy-seven-year-old Judith Potts enjoys living in her dilapidated mansion, setting crossword puzzles for newspapers, wearing what she calls her "cloak of invisibility," and midnight skinny dipping in the Thames. 

But that all changes one night when she hears her neighbor across the river being shot. The local police don't believe her, and that jumpstarts Judith's investigation. Along the way, she picks up two sidekicks: Suzie the dogwalker, and Becks the vicar's wife. The three are now the Marlow Murder Club.

When a second body turns up, the three realize they have a serial killer on their hands, and the fun puzzle they set out to solve may turn deadly for them all.


The Marlow Murder Club is just plain fun to read; I think I had a smile on my face most of the time as I read it. Robert Thorogood has created the perfect trio of amateur sleuths: each smart, each funny, each resourceful, each flawed in some way, and a force to be reckoned with when all three of them stand together.

Judith Potts is one of those lovable English eccentrics who loves her whisky, shares her knowledge of crossword puzzles, and doesn't pass up an opportunity to go skinny dipping in the Thames. Becks Starling is the local vicar's wife, who has a touch of OCD (keep a tight rein on her when visiting a crime scene), plenty of useful local contacts, and really knows how to think on her feet. Suzie Harris, as a local dog walker, has her own contacts, and-- whether she realizes it or not-- is just as strong and important as the other two members of the Marlow Murder Club. 

These three women share their findings with Detective Sergeant Tanika Malik, who finds herself as Senior Investigating Officer of multiple murders because her superior is on sick leave. At first, the three women drive Malik batty, but she soon sees that they can be quite a help to her, and she comes up with an ingenious way to bring them on board her investigation.

The Marlow Murder Club is being described as Agatha Christie-esque and compared with Richard Osman's The Thursday Murder Club. I think both comparisons are superficial and more wishful marketing than anything else. For me, the characterizations outshone the mystery because of its (to me) obvious plot connection to an Alfred Hitchcock movie, so as far as I'm concerned, this book is more Hitchcock than Christie-- which isn't necessarily a bad thing. As far as the Osman comparison, it's all marketing. Both books feature at least one elderly person solving a crime. For my money, Thorogood's The Marlow Murder Club is much the better choice. It keeps its focus and its humor, and the more manageable, smaller band of sleuths absolutely sparkles. I can't wait to see what happens in Marlow next.

The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood
eISBN: 9781728250533
Poisoned Pen Press © 2022
eBook, 288 pages
Cozy Mystery, #1 Marlow Murder Club mystery
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


  1. This one sounds quite good, Cathy. I liked The Thursday Murder Club , and I thought Thorogood created some appealing characters. If you liked this one even better, I probably ought to check it out!

  2. Well, this was inevitable really. Judith Potts, whiskey, crossword puzzles, midnight skinny dipping, OCD, dog walker, serial killer. You know, all the things I like, especially an elderly woman sleuth, had me by line 4. So how will I get it fast? I need a book like this. Just made me smile to read the review. See, I can't go too long without this blog adding to my list.

    1. It's definitely an excellent choice to read in between much more serious and somber tomes.

  3. This does sound like fun! I really like the combination of sleuths put together. Adding it to my ever growing TBR!

  4. I've got to read this one just to meet those three eccentric amateur sleuths. Just reading your review of them made me smile. :)


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