Useless presenter RIchard Osman’s debut novel, The Thursday Murder Club, turned out to be a huge success.
Quickly becoming a Sunday Times bestseller, it was then the first novel to be Christmas number one.
There are reports that this is proving to be very popular in America too – and that Steven Spielberg’s production company has already bought film rights around the world for it.
Which makes him all the more exciting since he’s based right here in the Garden of England.
The name of the book verifies locations across the county.
Its plot centers on a group of retirees who set out to solve the mystery of the murder of a real estate developer in a luxury retirement village of Cooper’s Chase in the “Kentish Weald”.
“You can’t move here until you’re over sixty-five and the Waitrose delivery vans clank with wine and repeat orders every time they pass over the farm.
And one of the curiosities, at least for local observers, is how Richard Osman mixes between referencing real places in Kent, with others that seem totally made up.
Tunbridge Wells receives a number of endorsements, as do Faversham, Folkestone and Ashford.
There is also a slight derision from Whitstable: “I went to Whitstable once, just for the day, but couldn’t really see what it was about. Once you did the oysters it didn’t. there is no real shopping to speak of. “
Along with that, there are things and places that just don’t seem to exist.
Drawing on our expert knowledge of the county, we’ve taken a look at some of the things below that seem to either be wrong or deliberately made up.
Fairhaven is a landscaped seaside town near the retirement village, often visited by the characters.
It is said to be “about 30 minutes the other way from Tunbridge Wells” meaning the Sussex coast would be the best guess if based on an actual location.
It also has a pier and a police station, and you apparently need to remove the A21 from it, which suggests it may well be based on Hastings.
“I love the younger feel of Fairhaven. I like to see what people wear and I like to hear the seagulls
“There is a vegan cafe, just off the waterfront, which I found a few months ago and I’m already looking forward to a nice mint tea and an almond flour brownie.
Describing how to get to the retirement village, Osman gives surprisingly detailed instructions, all of which seem totally made up.
“… go into the heart of Kentish Weald, you will eventually pass an old telephone booth, still in operation, in a sharp left turn.
“Continue for a hundred yards until you see the sign” Whitechurch, Abbots Hatch and Lents Hill “, then turn right.
“Cross Lents Hill, past the Blue Dragon and the little farm shop with the big egg outside, until you reach the little stone bridge over the Robertsmere.
“Officially the Robertsmere is a river, but don’t be confused and expect something big.”
Radio Kent gets a name check, as do the Kent Police on several occasions and Kent County Council.
But KentLive can confirm that he doesn’t have, to his knowledge, a brand new media rival using the above nickname.
The city above is of course real. And apparently, the same goes for the Virgin Active gym that a character visits.
But it looks like Osman missed the mark with a calculated guess that our leafy town in West Kent has a Waitrose cafe.
Alas, there is only a Little Waitrose combined with a gas station.
You have to venture into the Sevenoaks or Tonbridge hardwoods for one of the department stores.