The Marlow Murder Club: A Novel
Cozy Mystery/Amateur Sleuth Mysteries
1st in Series
Setting – England
Poisoned Pen Press (May 3, 2022)
Paperback : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 172825051X
ISBN-13 : 978-1728250519
Kindle ASIN : B09CLMYJYB
Meet Judith: a seventy-seven-year-old whiskey drinking, crossword puzzle author living her best life in a dilapidated mansion on the outskirts of Marlow.
Nothing ever happens in Marlow. That is, until Judith hears her neighbor shot while skinny-dipping in the Thames. The local police don’t believe her story. It’s an open and shut case, of course. Ha! Stefan can’t be left for dead like that.
Judith investigates and picks up a crew of sidekicks: Suzie the dogwalker and Becks the vicar’s wife. Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.
When another body turns up, they realize they have a real-life serial killer on their hands. And the puzzle they set out to solve has become a trap from which they might never escape…
Within these pages, The Marlow Murder Club is born.
Judith Potts, a crossword puzzle creator is now 77 years old and enjoys skinny dipping in the Thames and a good glass of whiskey.
Suzie Harris, a single mother to children who are now adults, a grandmother, a dog walker, and a breath of fresh in Judith’s world,
Rebecca (Becks) Starling, the vicar’s wife, a little OCD, trying to be a good wife and mother to her 2 children, who meets Judith in an unusual way.
Judith hears a gunshot ring out during one of her nightly swims coming from her neighbor’s yard after she heard a shout. She calls the police but they do a cursory search and leave. So she goes to have a look of her own and finds her neighbor shot and dead. When the police return they would not even acknowledge the man had been murdered. Because “nothing ever happens in Marlow” Judith assumes the police are ill-equipped to handle a murder so she starts investigating on her own.
Then another man is killed and she realizes she is looking for a serial killer and with the clues found on the bodies there is going to be another murder soon. While doing her search Judith meets Suzie and Becks and together they set out to do what the police have failed to do – catch a killer before he turns the table on them.
I really enjoyed this group of female amateur sleuths. They are all different as night and day, have their own strengths and weaknesses, and appear to be willing to put their lives on the line to find the truth. They are some truly funny moments and some very scary ones too as these women refuse to give up.
Not all the women are strong in this story though. I was really disappointed in Detective Sergeant Tankia Malik. She was clearly over her head investigating these murders. So much so that she does an unusual thing even in the world of cozy mysteries. She turns all the reports and evidence over to Judith, Becks, and Suzie and basically becomes their lackey.
The mystery Mr. Thorogood put forth draws from a classic theme but was quite a puzzler, perfect for Judith, who has her own unique way of composing and solving clues. All the suspects have firm alibis but all three women felt they were on the right track. There were some nice twists and turns but I started to put things together a bit before they did and couldn’t wait to see how the story would play out. Well, let me tell you the ending was quite exciting. I am sure my blood pressure was on the rise as the story reached its climax. I do wish more of the solution had taken place on the page instead of Judith just telling us how all the clues came together but I am sure the author had a reason for wrapping up the mystery the way he did.
I was captivated by the setting of the story. Especially Judith’s mansion on the banks of the Thames, where she could slip out quietly for a bit of skinny dipping. But truly every scene in the story was described in a way to take readers right there. He made it very easy to escape into the town of Marlow and all it had to offer.
The Marlow Murder Club took me on quite a journey that now has me invested in the members of this unique club. There are some over-the-top sections and a good dose of humor but all in all the book was an entertaining and enjoyable read. Judith, Suzie, and Becks all evolved nicely. They became friends, overcame some personal obstacles, and became better people than we met at the start. That being said I think we have much more to learn about them. I am so happy to see there is another book featuring them in the works. Death Comes to Marlow is set to be released in November.
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About the Author
Robert Thorogood is an English screenwriter. He is best known as the creator of the BBC 1 Murder Mystery Series, Death in Paradise.
Robert was educated at Uppingham School in Rutland and read History at Downing College, Cambridge. While at Cambridge, he toured with the university’s student comedy troupe Footlights in 1993 and was elected President in 1994. Soon after leaving Cambridge, Robert set up a theatre company that toured small theatres and schools, the highlight of which was a production of Molière’s The Miser that he directed and acted in alongside Robert Webb, David Mitchell, and Olivia Colman.
Robert wrote for many years – selling scripts to the BBC, ITV, and independent film companies – but before 2011 the only script of his that was actually broadcast was a Radio 4 afternoon play called From Abstraction about the life of Paul Wolfskehl.
In 2008, Robert entered the inaugural Red Planet Prize and was a chosen finalist, where he was able to pitch his ‘Copper in the Caribbean’ idea to Tony Jordan. By 2011, when the show was finally broadcast – making it Robert’s first TV broadcast credit at the age of 39 – Robert had become something of a poster boy for ‘never giving up on the dream’.
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