I love reading gritty crime novels where extreme violence and horrific murders are the norm. But every once in a while I do want a break from psychotic killers and prefer a much lighter read in the form of Cosy Crime Mysteries, or Cozies as they are affectionately known. Cozies have been around a long time, with arguably the most famous author of detective fiction / cosy crime being Agatha Christie. Now, whilst Cozies sound all sweet, innocent and tame, murder still occurs and generally in small idyllic towns and communities where “nothing ever happens”, they just don’t tend to have all the violence and foul language associated with their grittier counterparts and are generally investigated by armchair / amateur detectives (generally well educated women).
I recently came across The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood (the creator of the BBC drama Death in Paradise), that features a trio of very unlikely amateur sleuths trying to solve a series of murders in the sleepy town of Marlow and it was a very enjoyable whodunnit.
Marlow is a sleepy historic town in Buckinghamshire, situated on the banks of the River Thames. A very cosy place to live and tourists love to visit. It is home to the eccentric whisky-loving seventy-seven year old Judith Potts, a crossword compiler who lives on the banks of the Thames in her faded mansion where she leads a peaceful life as nothing of note ever happens in Marlow. That is until the murder of her neighbour! Her life is about to become a whole lot more interesting, and dangerous!
Stefan Dunwoody is a local art gallery owner and neighbour of Judith’s. When she hears his murder, whilst she is out swimming in the Thames, the police don’t straightaway believe her, so she decides to investigate the alleged crime herself and finds his body. He has been executed, a bullet between the eyes! Judith starts looking into the murder, teaming up with the vicar’s wife (Becks) and a local dog walker (Suzie) to solve the crime. And then there are two more murders in the same fashion. The unlikely trio soon find clues that tie all the murders together but not the victims. With the police baffled, Judith, Suzie and Becks are determined to follow the clues and unmask a murderer.
Overall, The Marlow Murder Club is a very enjoyable read and one that will suit fans of detective stories such as those written by Agatha Christie, and if you like watching Death in Paradise then you will enjoy reading this as it is a written in a similar way. With a splendid array of cosy characters, and cosy suspects, the plot travels along a good pace until it slowly reveals the truth.
The plot is easy to follow without being too oversimplified or revealing its secrets too early. The characters are fun, especially the three main protagonists that are completely different from each other and are an unlikely blending where friendship blossoms and they really do gel together very nicely.
The writing is very clever, making a superb and interesting story. It is packed with enough twists and turns, hints and clues to keep you guessing to the end.
The Marlow Murder Club is an uncomplicated and enjoyable cosy read. An amateur detective novel that will keep you guessing. A refreshing read that whilst murders may occur it isn’t packed with gruesome details and foul language. A novel to sit down and relax with of an evening.
A very cosy read that is very entertaining, a good old-fashioned amateur detective novel. Don’t let he description of “cosy crime” put you off, this is a very enjoyable read that makes a refreshing change. Will YOU be able to decipher the clues to solve the puzzle?
RRP: £12.99 (Hardback) / £8.99 (Paperback) / £2.99 (Kindle)
Available to buy from Amazon here.