If you like your murder mysteries on the less gruesome side, you’re not alone. Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series, about a group of talented, crime-solving residents in a sleepy retirement village, has proved hugely popular with the fourth in the series due for release in September.
The series follows the adventures of Osman’s gang of elderly sleuths, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron as they solve murders – witty, quaint and gore-free – these stories are part of what’s known as ‘cosy crime’.
If you enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club, here’s 10 more cosy crime novels you might want to try while you wait for the next one! Click the links to reserve today. Need help logging into the apps to access ebooks and audiobooks for free? Click here for our handy how-to guides.
1. The Twyford Code – Janice Hallett (Book, eAudiobook on the ULibrary app)
Forty years ago, Steven Smith found a copy of a famous children's book, its margins full of strange markings and annotations. He took it to his English teacher, Miss Isles, who became convinced it was the key to solving a secret code that ran through all Edith Twyford's novels.
Then Miss Isles disappeared on a class field trip, and Steven's memory won't allow him to remember what happened. Desperate to recover his memories and find out what really happened, Steven revisits the people and places of his childhood. But it soon becomes clear that Edith Twyford wasn't just a writer of forgotten children's stories. The Twyford Code has great power, and he isn't the only one trying to solve it...
Tea-shop owner. Matchmaker. Detective? Sixty-year-old self-proclaimed tea expert Vera Wong enjoys nothing more than sipping a good cup of Wulong and doing some healthy 'detective' work on the internet (AKA checking up on her son to see if he's dating anybody yet).
But when Vera wakes up one morning to find a dead man in the middle of her tea shop, it's going to take more than a strong Longjing to fix things. Knowing she'll do a better job than the police possibly could; because nobody sniffs out a wrongdoing quite like a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands; Vera decides it's down to her to catch the killer.
3. Magpie Murders (#1 in the Magpie Murders series) – Anthony Horowitz (Book, CD audiobook)
When editor Susan Ryeland is given the tattered manuscript of Alan Conway's latest novel, she has little idea it will change her life. She's worked with the revered crime writer for years and his detective, Atticus Pund, is renowned for solving crimes in the sleepy English villages of the 1950s. As Susan knows only too well, vintage crime sells handsomely. It's just a shame that it means dealing with an author like Alan Conway...
But Conway's latest tale of murder at Pye Hall is not quite what it seems. Yes, there are dead bodies and a host of intriguing suspects, but hidden in the pages of the manuscript there lies another story: a tale written between the very words on the page, telling of real-life jealousy, greed, ruthless ambition and murder.
4. Still Life (#1 in the Chief Inspector Gamanche series) – Louise Penny (Book)
The discovery of a dead body in the woods on Thanksgiving Weekend brings Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and his colleagues from the Surete du Quebec to a small village in the Eastern Townships. Gamache cannot understand why anyone would want to deliberately kill well-loved artist Jane Neal, especially any of the residents of Three Pines - a place so free from crime it doesn't even have its own police force.
But Gamache knows that evil is lurking somewhere behind the white picket fences and that, if he watches closely enough, Three Pines will start to give up its dark secrets...
5. A Shot in the Dark (#1 in the Constable Twitten series) – Lynne Truss (CD audiobook)
Brighton, 1957. Inspector Steine rather enjoys his life as a policeman by the sea. No criminals, no crime, no stress. So it's really rather annoying when an ambitious - not to mention irritating - new constable shows up to work and starts investigating a series of burglaries.
And it's even more annoying when, after Constable Twitten is despatched to the theatre for the night, he sits next to a vicious theatre critic who is promptly shot dead part way through the opening night of a new play. It seems Brighton may be in need of a police force after all...
6. The Marlow Murder Club (#1 in Marlow Murder Club series) – Robert Thorogood (Book)
To solve an impossible murder, you need an impossible hero...Judith Potts is seventy-seven years old and blissfully happy. She lives on her own in a faded mansion just outside Marlow, there's no man in her life to tell her what to do or how much whisky to drink, and to keep herself busy she sets crosswords for The Times newspaper.
One evening, while out swimming in the Thames, Judith witnesses a brutal murder. The local police don't believe her story, so she decides to investigate for herself, and is soon joined in her quest by Suzie, a salt-of-the-earth dog-walker, and Becks, the prim and proper wife of the local Vicar. Together, they are the Marlow Murder Club.
7. The Maid – Nita Prose (Book)
Molly the Maid is all alone in the world. A nobody. She's used to being invisible in her job at the Regency Grand Hotel, plumping pillows and wiping away the grime, dust and secrets of the guests who pass through. She's just a maid - why should anyone take notice?
But Molly is thrown into the spotlight when she discovers an infamous guest, Mr Black, very dead in his bed. This isn't a mess that can be easily cleaned up. And so Molly becomes embroiled in a hunt for the truth, learning who to trust as she navigates the secret underbelly of the Regency Grand Hotel.
8. The Eyre Affair (#1 in the Thursday Next series) - Tom Hindle (Book)
In Jasper Fforde's Great Britain, circa 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense.
All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Brontë's novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career.
9. The Mitford Murders (#1 in the Mitford Murders series) – Jessica Fellowes (Book)
It's 1919, and Louisa Cannon dreams of escaping her life of poverty in London, and most of all her oppressive and dangerous uncle. Louisa's salvation is a position within the Mitford household at Asthall Manor, in the Oxfordshire countryside. There she will become nurserymaid, chaperone and confidante to the Mitford sisters, especially sixteen-year-old Nancy - an acerbic, bright young woman in love with stories.
But then a nurse - Florence Nightingale Shore, goddaughter of her famous namesake - is killed on a train in broad daylight, and Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangled in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret…
10. A Lesson in Dying (#1 in the Inspector Ramsay series) – Ann Cleeves (Book)
Who hung the headmaster in the playground on the night of the school Halloween Party?
Almost everyone in Heppleburn either hated or feared the viper-tongued Harold Medburn. Inspector Ramsay is convinced it was the headmaster's enigmatic wife but Jack Robson, school governor and caretaker, is determined to prove her innocence. With the help of his restless daughter Patty, Jack digs into the secrets of Heppleburn, and uncovers a cesspit of lies, adultery, blackmail and madness ...
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