Raise your hand if you love Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron. And also Chris, Donna and Bogdan. Yep, we love them too. And if you’re like us, we were still hungry after chewing through the Thursday Murder Club series. We wanted more books like The Thursday Murder Club!
And if you’ve also got that hunger, never fear, ’cause we’re going to feed you a whole baker’s dozen of books similar to The Thursday Murder Club. Our suggestions cue on Richard Osman’s themes of mature and caring friendships and how skills can stay sharp as we age. We’ve got some selections, that deliver witty repartee, older people sticking their noses into crime investigations along with some people getting murdered and others doing some murdering.
We’ve also got a few suggestions that feature stuffy retirement home dynamics and some escapees from said homes. So, keep scrolling and get ready to add some books to your TBR pile.
If you’ve read the book for your book club, be sure to use our Thursday Murder Club reading guide to get the conversation started.
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Books Like The Thursday Murder Club: Murder Investigations
If you liked The Thursday Murder Club‘s septuagenarian crime-solvers and author Osman’s dry wit, this first batch of books is for you.
The Marlow Murder Club, (Marlow Murder Club #1) Robert Thorogood
This book is very much like The Thursday Murder Club. Thorogood’s protagonist Judith doesn’t live in a retirement home, but like Elizabeth and Joyce, she’s definitely living life on her own terms. While swimming in the Thames, she witnesses a murder, but the police pooh-pooh her report.
She recruits Suzy (a dog-walker) and Becks (the Vicar’s wife…why is it always the Vicar’s wife?), to bring their very particular talents to bear on her own investigation. Fueled with whisky and their own wits, the three women navigate various suspects, red herrings, and twists to solve the cozy mystery.
Louisiana Longshot (Miss Fortune #1), Jana DeLeon
Fortune Redding is a CIA assassin. But when her identity is leaked to an arms dealer, she has to go into hiding. She waits it out posing as a former beauty queen and librarian in the Bayou. And then, when her dog finds a body in the back yard, she comes under police suspicion.
She teams up with some geriatric sidekicks, or “nosy old women’s libbers”, as they are called by the dismissive townsfolk, to help her solve the mystery.
The book has plenty of treachery, murderous intent, cough syrup (aka moonshine), banana pudding and deadly knitting needles.
And if you like the first book, there are many in the series to keep you busy.
Vera Wong’s Unsolicited Advice for Murderers, Jessie Q. Sutanto
Sixty year-old Very Wong is bringing some heavy Joyce vibes. She makes tea, does some detective work on the internet and interferes in her son’s dating life. Ring a bell?
And then Vera finds a dead man in her tea shop. She calls the police and then very helpfully draws her own chalk outline around the body. The police don’t think it’s murder, but Vera has her own ideas about what happened.
She develops a list of suspects and during her investigation, befriends most of them. Vera has a lot of opinions, a heart of gold and a nose for murder.
Books Similar to The Thursday Murder Club: Elderly Assassins
Whereas the first batch of books like The Thursday Murder Club feature older people solving crimes, this next batch have people committing them.
An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good, Helene Tursten
(Translated by Marlaine Delargy)
Look, Maude just wants to travel the world and hold onto her sweet rent-free apartment in Gothenburg. She’s 88, doesn’t have friends or family and she possesses…well…let’s just call it a flexible moral code.
Don’t be fooled by the cozy needlepoint cover. This book is packing some murder. And Maude keeps getting away with it until detective Huss begins to see through Maude’s cute old lady facade.
The book features some pitch black humor and wicked fun.
Murder Your Employer: The McMasters Guide to Homicide, Rupert Holmes
If the name rings a bell, this is indeed that Rupert Holmes, of the Piña Colada song fame. However, what follows has nothing to do with frozen adult beverages.
Let’s face it, we’ve all wanted to murder our employer at one time or another, right? Well, this clandestine elite college will give you the very tools that you need to make it happen. At The McMasters Conservatory, you’ll learn how to deploy various different forms of dispatch for “deleting” your problem.
But, of course, you’ll need an ethical reason for carrying out the murder, as any hit-person with a conscience already knows.
The book is similar to The Thursday Murder Club, in that we get perspectives from multiple characters as they embark upon their “projects”, and the book also adds a slow burn mystery and bone dry dark humor.
If you like audio, this one is narrated by Neil Patrick Harris.
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone, Benjamin Stevenson
(Note to self: DO NOT join Ern’s family for a Christmas holiday)
The premise of this book is a classic locked-room mystery featuring Ernest, his family, a snowed-in resort and a frozen corpse. Whodunnit? Apparently everyone!
The book breaks down the fourth wall as Earnest investigates the murder and breezily narrates his progress to you. It’s a playful Golden Era-style murder mystery with tons of teasers, a bumbling detective, family secrets and sharp knives.
Killers of a Certain Age, Deanna Rayburn
These four friends have over forty years of experience as assassins. And just as they take off for a long awaiting retirement trip, they find themselves targeted by the very clandestine organization, called The Museum, which they recently retired from.
Who ordered the hit? And why? Well, The Museum will underestimate these extraordinary effective post-menopausal women at their peril.
The book cues in on Murder Club‘s exploration of friendship, and danger.
The Old Woman With the Knife, Gu Byeong
(Translator: Chi-Young Kim)
This book is a nice pick if you still want older ladies performing criminal acts, but you want to travel outside of the US and Europe.
Set in South Korea, the plot follows Hornclaw, a 65 year-old assassin who’s nearing retirement. After an injury, she comes into contact and (sort of, it’s complicated) befriends a doctor only to find that she’s later hired to target his family. She’s also dealing with an aging body and scheming shenanigans from an upstart punk at the firm.
Hornclaw is a surprisingly sympathetic character and the book walks an interesting line between compassion and cold-blood.
If You Like Cranky Elderly People and Uptight Retirement Homes
This next batch of books are less about crime and more about the pains of aging, rediscovering oneself in old age and the difficult choice to make between living an independent life and accepting supportive living.
If you aren’t careful you can really lose your sense of self in a retirement village and Peggy has been veering hard in that direction. It’s all water aerobics, prescriptions, grief, and interference from the kids.
And then in flies fashionista Angie, a childhood friend of Peggy. Her whirlwind persona brings a lot of change to Peggy. There are external changes like new hair and clothing. But the renewed friendship also gives Peggy the courage to stand up to her kids and go for what she wants.
The book has the warm fuzzies of the Murder Club‘s close friendships, along with plenty of compassion and joie de vivre.
A Man Called Ove, Frederick Backman
(Translator: Henning Koch)
Ove is a classic “get off my lawn” kind of curmudgeon. But his crusty exterior covers a marshmallow interior and he’s dealing with common issues for elderly people; loss and loneliness.
And then his new neighbors move in, with their cheerful demeanors and their poor parking skills, and Ove’s crusty exterior starts to crack.
If you are a curmudgeon in need of some tenderizing, this is a great book for you. As a tragi-comedy, it packs a lot of feels.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce
Poor Harold. A deep sadness has compelled him to take a most unlikely 600 mile quest on foot to visit an old flame, who lives in a care home. Harold becomes an unwilling media sensation and accrues an motley cast of disciples along the way.
There isn’t a mystery centering this book, other than the underlying cause of Harold’s sadness (which we won’t spoil for you). But it’s a comp for the Murder Club for its sympathetic portrayal of a retired man whose not yet ready to give up on life.
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen (Hendrik Groen #1), Hendrik Groen
(Translator: Hestor Velmans)
This book also features an elderly, curmudgeonly European. But the format and tone is different from A Man Called Ove.
Hendrik lives in a retirement home and he’s bored stiff. In a fit of exasperated trouble-making, he starts writing an expose on the antics of the other “inmates” of the home. There’s a bit of Ron in Hendrik as he’s cranky and politically incorrect. And his “Old But Not Dead Yet Club”, which is a group of other troublemaking cronies, has hints of Elizabeth and the gang.
Hendrik’s (mis)adventure are funny and absurd. But the book also deals with serious themes such as the indignity of an aging body and how care homes can suck your life force.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, Jonas Jonnasson
This book is a completely absurd romp which follows the adventures of a 100 year-old-man whose had quite enough of his care home thankyouverymuch.
After Allan jumps out the window and accidentally on-purpose steals a suitcase full of cash from the railway station. We tag along for the ride as he’s chased by criminals and the police, accruing a motley found family (and one large Asian elephant) along the way.
We also get Allan’s backstory, which features a series of unlikely, history-making adventures in nation-building. Look, just set aside all disbelief and get aboard the roller coaster. It’s a fun ride!
Read it for book club and use our 100 Year-Old-Man reading guide.
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