Today is a special day on the blog as it features a guest review from my other half… I’m sure you’ll agree he has done a splendid job and has created a rather wonderful, considered and thoughtful review.
Now I just need to read the book myself!
5 Stars from him!
I feel I should ask you to bear with me. It is a while since a read a book – too long if I’m being honest and certainly a writing review is a first. However, I had been quietly looking forward to reading this since I learned in the early part of this year of its upcoming release. Reading the book was very much my choice, though this review is under slight persuasion from the better half and, if truth be told, somewhat of a surprise.
I’m not sure how you couldn’t be an admirer of Richard Osman, so it may be my bias leaks through, but the thought of a crime book formed from the insightful and intriguing intellect that happily puts him high on my list of people I’d have as a dinner guest, sparked some long forgotten desire last lit by the likes of Terry Pratchett. Hat optional.
If you are looking for a high-octane, rollicking, in-your-face, let-‘em-have-it, slap-you–about-a-bit thriller, then I’m afraid you may be in the wrong ball-park. You may not even be in a park at all come to that.
What you will find is a story which immediately, casually, deftly and pleasantly draws you in and does not let go until the final page. Not that you wish to leave – which is lucky as I’m not sure you’d have a choice having met Elizabeth. The characters to whom you are introduced are gently captivating and are intertwined with such ease that you are wholly submerged in their world. You misjudge them at your peril, but not that they are a threat – well not in the conventional sense. The dual approach to the story-telling is inspirational and Joyce’s observations are wonderfully constructed and timed.
With obvious knowledge and experience, the retirement village which provides the focal stage for the book, unveils a depth of detailed characters with a wealth of sharp wit and amusing dialogue. It sets a stage for turning many a stereotyping misnomer inside out with an abundance of enjoyable politeness. Very much in the way a patient Nan would perhaps inform you it was generally thought courteous to wear clothes in company. The police team is, as with the members of The Thursday Murder Club, a delightfully well-observed addition and certainly blended beautifully to the plot. The descriptions of other elements of the retirement village daily life are left scattered throughout and almost confirms you as a resident.
The story gives ample opportunity to understand those in the retirement village. The values that are held dear, that for some only a lifetime can teach. Acceptance, truth, integrity, loyalty, love and friendship are underpinning every chapter but with subtly that does not interfere with the flow of the plot. As with most things in life, realisation rarely announces itself to a fanfare, but quietly arrives by your side and takes your hand. Then you get it.
There doesn’t feel any area which wasn’t thoroughly thought through. As a story, it holds together wonderfully and saddens you as it concludes. I’m going to look for a brochure, I recommend you do the same.