The Marlow Murder Club / Death Comes to Marlow, Robert Thorogood

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

This audio series was recommended to me by an algorithm which I'm never 100% convinced about, but I'd finished all that was available in The Thursday Murder club series and was in the mood for something on the lighter side. Besides I'm increasingly a sucker for anything with women of a certain age getting on with things, refusing to buckle under to "societal expectations".  For some reason.

This series revolves around 77 year old Judith Potts, she of the, it turns out, decidedly odd past. A woman who now works as a crossword setter, lives in a fading old mansion on the banks of the Thames, a river in which she is fond of swimming regularly, nude preferably. Potts is not somebody to be trifled with, she's bold, determined, and a no nonsense sort of person. She's also lived a tricky life, and has spent some considerable time on her own. In the course of investigating the shooting death of a neighbour of hers, she meets up with the two women who will become her firm friends, and fellow participants in the Marlow Murder Club - Suzie, a very down to earth, spade is a sodding shovel type who works as a dog-walker, and has had her own trials and tribulations in life and Becks, the prim, proper and very house proud local Vicar's wife.  A job she never envisaged being asked to undertake as her husband showed no signs of such a dramatic career change when they first married, but a role she's determined to enact to the best of her ability. 

The three women find themselves up to their elbows in their extra-curricula investigation of the shooting murder of Judith's neighbour in the first book THE MARLOW MURDER CLUB, mostly because the police don't seem to believe her, when she tries to explain what she saw and heard that night. Which investigation, as you can imagine, revolves around a lot of listening, watching and deducing, with only a little bit of office-breaking, climbing out of windows and limb endangering. As is quickly the pattern that emerges, when the second book in the series, DEATH COMES TO MARLOW, sees the three women investigating the crushing death of local grandee, Sir Peter Bailey.

Slightly on the cozy side, this series, thus far, avoids madcap and heads straight into determined women territory which I really enjoyed. The plots are a little on the elaborate side, but always lend themselves nicely to the idea that three amateur detectives, with a bit of support from a local female cop, would be able to solve, with a bit of ingenuity, and a lot of clever thinking. They are also a nice, unlikely threesome of friends, each with their personal complications explored, but not dwelt on, each with a desire for friendship and shared experience.

Perfect as an audio series, the narrator, Nicolette McKenzie, has an excellent, easy to listen to style, with sufficient variation to keep the listener interested, and aware of who has focus at any particular point. There's also a third book available in audio this month - THE QUEEN OF POISONS.

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It’s been an enjoyable and murder-free time for Judith, Suzie and Becks – AKA the Marlow Murder Club – since the events of last year. The most exciting thing on the horizon is the upcoming wedding of Marlow grandee, Sir Peter Bailey, to his nurse, Jenny Page. Sir Peter is having a party at his grand mansion on the river Thames the day before the wedding, and Judith and Co. are looking forward to a bit of free champagne.

But during the soiree, there’s a crash from inside the house, and when the Marlow Murder Club rush to investigate, they are shocked to find the groom-to-be crushed to death in his study.

The study was locked from the inside, so the police don’t consider the death suspicious. But Judith disagrees. As far as she's concerned, Peter was murdered! And it’s up to the Marlow Murder Club to find the killer before he or she strikes again…

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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.

When another body turns up, they realise 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…

Review The Marlow Murder Club / Death Comes to Marlow, Robert Thorogood
Karen Chisholm
Monday, January 8, 2024
Blog Updates - week ending 12th January 2024
Karen Chisholm
Tuesday, January 2, 2024

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