The Marlow Murder Club brings together what I hope will be a long-lasting trio of crime-solving women in Marlow, one of those quiet English villages along the Thames. Of course, some might say St. Mary Mead was a quiet village, too. The women are the intrepid Judith who hears a murder while she is swimming in the nude in the Thames. Joining her are Suzie, the dog-walker, and Becks, the vicar’s wife.
Judith is certain she witnessed a murder, but the police think she is a silly old woman. However, Suzie, who walks the victim’s dog, agrees with her and the vicar’s wife is suspicious, too. When there is a second shooting, the police start listening, when there is a third, the women are deputized, which seems highly unlikely. It all culminates in a fraught encounter between Judith and the murderer while Becks and Suzie move mountains, hoping to reach her in time.
I liked The Marlow Murder Club though there were a few creaky moments. The least credible was the final confrontation where it seems everything goes wrong. It feels like the end of a James Bond movie where the villain details his entire plan while Bond approaches death in a Goldberg-machine death trap, except in this case, it’s Judith explaining how she solved the crime and Goldberg created the obstacles blocking her rescuers.
I like the characters and hope they get another chance to impress. First novels in a series can be the best when they don’t feel like the beginning of a series. But when it’s clear a series is intended, they are often a bit creaky because they have so much to introduce. This had the growing pains of introduction. I hope in future books in the series, Becks and Suzie get more space and time to become full-fledged characters.
I received an e-galley of The Marlow Murder Club from the publisher through NetGalley.