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Is this the new Agatha Christie?

I spent a lot of time reading Agatha Christie books when I was younger. They were page turners that kept my attention by having a mystery to solve. Actually, I was never able to work out who the murderer was but still I kept on reading. I generally preferred the tales featuring Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, rather than Christie's other well-known detectives, such as Miss Jane Marple, but I read them all.

Later I tried more gritty crime fiction, such as Ian Rankin and some Swedish crime authors but they didn’t grab me in the way that Agatha Christie had done. Too much violence isn’t really my thing. If I’m going to read about murders, I don’t want the gory detail – I just want a bit of a puzzle to solve. Nowadays though I’m looking for something more contemporary than Hercule Poirot and perhaps I’ve found it.

I first heard about the ‘Thursday Murder Club’ whilst listening to Richard Osman’s Desert Island Discs episode. He explained that he had read many Agatha Christie book when he was younger and wanted to produce something in a similar style.

His first book set in an upmarket retirement community manages to pull off this feat. There are numerous murders and a posse of amateur sleuths on hand to solve them. But there is very little in the way of violence. Instead, the reader is treated to a charming picture of modern-day England, a tale of home-made cakes, overweight police officers, ex-boxers, cynical entrepreneurs and lovely pensioners with time on their hands to solve some cold cases (and not so cold ones too!)

The language includes a fabulous selection of idioms, ideal for English learners whilst the story rolls on at a gentle pace perfectly suited to the retirement home setting.

There is no rush to finish the book, to discover who the murderer is (or could it be murderers?). Rather, it is a book that should be savoured, a few chapters at a time, to get the most from the dialogue and the descriptions of provincial England.

If you are learning English and want something relatively easy to read, I can heartily recommend this book.

Language tips

In German this genre of writing is known as 'Krimi' but do you know what it is called in English?

Think first, then read further.

As is usual in English, there is a choice. Here are a few words and expressions to describe crime stories:

  • crime fiction

  • a murder mystery

  • a whodunnit

  • classic murder yarns

If you read some book reviews, you might find some other useful expressions.



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