The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood

The basics

Title: The Marlow Murder Club


Series: The Marlow Murder Club #1

- The Marlow Murder Club (2021)
- Death Comes to Marlow (2023)

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Goodreads Summary:

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…

Read a full summary of The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood below. If you can’t remember what happened in The Marlow Murder Club and you need a refresher, then you’re in the right place.

What happened in The Marlow Murder Club?

  • Judith Potts is 77 years old and lives in a small town in Buckinghamshire called Marlow. She goes for a swim in the Thames one evening and goes up to her neighbour, Stefan Dunwoody’s garden. She hears a shout followed by a gunshot and immediately returns home to call the police.
  • Detective Tanika Malik arrives. She doesn’t believe that Judith heard anything.
  • Judith looks Stefan up online and finds he was in a “bust up” at the Henley Regatta. He got into a fight with Elliot Howard, the owner of an auction house.
  • Judith takes it upon herself to visit Stefan, and finds him dead on the floor. She was right.
  • Detective Malik shows up again and asks questions. She tells Judith that Elliot Howard reported a burglary a few weeks ago, although nothing was stolen.
  • Judith doesn’t trust the police to do their jobs so she starts looking into Stefan’s art gallery.
  • Judith heads over there and meets Antonia Webster. She’s working at the gallery before she goes off to uni. Antonia tells Judith a sus looking man came to the gallery a little bit ago. He and Stefan had a tense conversation. Judith and Antonia look up Elliot Howard and Antonia confirms that’s the man.
  • Judith goes to speak to Howard and makes up a story about him spilling her drink at the Regatta and owing her money. She asks about the argument with Stefan and he confirms it happened. Elliot calls Stefan a fraud and a liar.
  • Elliot apparently has an alibi for the time Stefan died.
  • Judith bumps into Becks, the vicar’s wife. She’s looking for a list of people who sing with the church because that’s Howard’s alibi. Becks confirms Howard was there that night.
  • Becks posts on the Marlow group and pretends she wants to use the Marlow Auction House. She asks if Elliot Howard can be trusted.
  • Judith spots a woman in Stefan’s garden. She vanishes when Judith calls out to her.
  • Detective Malik learns that the gun used to kill Stefan was an old WW2 gun. It hasn’t been found yet.
  • Malik gets another call saying there has been another shooting in Marlow. She heads over to the victim’s house, and finds a man called Iqbal Kassam dead. He was a taxi driver.
  • A woman is spying on Malik from the bushes. She says her name is Suzie Harris and she is Iqbal’s dog walker. She agrees to look after the dog for the time being.
  • Malik finds a medallion in Iqbal’s mouth. It is identical to the one found on Stefan’s body, and this one says Hope instead of Faith.
  • Judith and Suzie meet for the first time and discuss the investigation.
  • Judith spots the woman from the garden again, and once again she runs off.
  • Malik finds out the same gun was used to kill Iqbal and Stefan.
  • Becks tells Judith the comments on her post were complimentary of Howard, although they do mention that Howard’s dad and Stefan were crooks.
  • They spot someone breaking into Stefan’s house and they go running – or, rather, punting – over. Judith stops the intruder but doesn’t see who it is before they run off. The police arrive and ask some questions. Judith tells them about the garden woman.
  • Becks notices that a painting isn’t straight, and Judith realises it’s the only one in the room without a frame. It looks as though the frame has been removed recently.
  • The painting seems to have been sold to Stefan by the Auction House in 1988.
  • Judith invites Suzie and Becks into her house and asks them to look into the painting. Judith shares that her Greek husband died in a boating accident in Corfu. They discuss how Elliot resigned from the auction house in 1988, which is a bit of a coincidence, and a guy called Fred Smith took over.
  • Fred is Suzie’s postman so they catch him for a chat. Fred agrees that Elliot’s dad, Dudley, was a crook. Apparently Elliot was interested in rowing when he was younger but he wasn’t allowed to be on the school team. Elliot also enjoyed painting but instead of going to art school he had to stay at the auction house.
  • Fred says when Dudley died, Elliot asked Stefan to price up all the paintings for him to sell. Stefan took an expensive drawing and refused to give it back to Elliot.
  • Judith realises the garden lady is Liz Curtis, the woman who runs the Marlow Rowing Centre. Suzie says Liz has killed before.
  • Suzie says Liz killed a dog that she inherited.
  • The gang go to speak to Liz. Liz denies killing the dog, and says he went missing. Liz leaves.
  • Her husband, Danny, shows up. He shares that Liz did know Stefan and Iqbal.
  • Judith asks Becks about Liz Curtis, because she goes to their church. She was a solo rower, and that’s how she met Danny.
  • The group attends Iqbal’s funeral. They are told that Iqbal was supposed to inherit some money from his neighbour, an old man called Ezra. Except someone made Ezra change his will and give them the money instead. They need to figure out who this other person is.
  • They look it up, get a copy of the will, and find that Ezra left everything to his solicitor – a man called Andy Bishop.
  • They head to the solicitor’s office and make up a story to get info out of him. They don’t get much out of him but he seems cagey. They think he has shredded some documents.
  • They break into the office and steal the shredded paper.
  • Detective Malik reveals there has been another murder. It’s Liz Curtis. The body had a bronze medallion on it saying “Charity”. Apparently Danny Curtis was up in Nottingham at the time, so it couldn’t have been him.
  • Danny arrives and Malik asks him a few questions. Danny lets slip that he and Liz have spent all their savings.
  • Andy Bishop implies that he’s glad Stefan was shot.
  • A neighbour tells Suzie that Elliot Howard has set fire to an oil painting. The trio head over to check it out. Malik heads over to ask some questions. Elliot says he didn’t know anything about a break in at Stefan’s place after the Regatta. Apparently the paintings he is burning are his own.
  • The gang figure out that Andy Bishop shredded information about Ezra’s will. Ezra’s two witnesses both died in March the previous year, but the will was dated in May. Sus.
  • They fill Malik in. Malik says Bishop couldn’t have killed Iqbal because he was in Malta at the time.
  • Malik lets the trio join the team as citizen advisors.
  • Judith has been saving newspapers since 1970. Becks and Suzie figure out that’s the year Judith’s husband died in a boating accident. One of the newspapers says there was someone else on the boat that day.
  • Judith manages to put everything together. Danny Curtis arrives at her house with a gun.
  • Becks goes to get Malik and they rush over. They get into a bit of trouble that slows them down – the lane is blocked.
  • Judith figures that Danny has wanted Liz dead for ages because she didn’t want to sell her family’s land, which is worth millions. Danny killed Stefan.
  • Becks goes to her husband for help moving the tree.
  • Judith says that Danny killed Stefan for Elliot, and Elliot killed Iqbal for Andy. It was a weird trio murder! They were all on the same rowing team at school, which is how they knew each other.
  • Emma the dog arrives just in time and pins Danny to the floor. The police arrive and Andy, Elliot, and Danny are all arrested.
  • Judith takes Suzie and Becks out on a boat. She previously said she didn’t know anything about boats, so Suzie calls her out on it. They theorise that Judith killed her abusive husband. Judith couldn’t possibly comment.

This is a full plot summary of what happened in The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood. Check out our recap list for more recaps. If you can’t find what you need, you can request a recap from us!

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