Despite fierce competition from the likes of Barack Obama and J.K. Rowling, Richard Osman’s debut novel The Thursday Murder Club is the best-selling book in the last full week before Christmas, selling 134,500 copies in the week up to Saturday, more than double the numbers seen for A Promised Land by former US President Barack Obama, which sold 66,500. David Walliams’ children’s book Code Name Bananas sits in third place with 55,129 and, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, J.K. Rowling’s The Ickabog sits in eighth place with 31,159 copies sold.
Not only has his novel secured him a Christmas No. 1, but Osman is also the first author to ever secure such a title with their debut novel. As the BBC reports, the book proved to be a massive hit upon its publication, selling nearly 700,000 copies in less than four months, according to its publisher, Penguin. It is also the third best-selling hardback novel, after Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Speaking of the novel’s success, The Bookseller’s managing editor Tom Tivnan said: “Lots of celebrities have written novels in the past, but his book has been cheered by literary critics and the public alike. It crosses all parts of the industry. Celebrity novels generally do well in supermarkets and on Amazon, but it’s been the best-selling book in independent book shops since it’s been on sale. It’s been selling massively since day one, for four months straight, which is really rare.”
He went on to say how Osman’s popularity as well as the fact the book is genuinely a great read have helped its success. “He has a wide appeal – from university kids who watch him during the afternoon to pensioners. The main thing, though, is the book is good. It’s a cracking read. It would have sold well if the book was just a passable thriller. But everyone who reads it presses it on to other people.”
The UK’s top[ 10 books are as follows:
1. Richard Osman – The Thursday Murder Club, 134,514 copies sold
2. Barack Obama – A Promised Land, 66,531
3. David Walliams – Code Name Bananas, 55,129
4. Kay Featherstone & Kate Allinson – Pinch of Nom: Quick & Easy, 52,955
5. Charlie Mackesy – The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, 52,099
6. Guinness World Records 2021, 35,229
7. Douglas Stuart – Shuggie Bain, 31,218
8. J.K. Rowling – The Ickabog, 31,159
9. David Jason – A Del of a Life, 23,973
10. David Attenborough – A Life on Our Planet, 23,686
The book follows a group of pensioners in a retirement village who attempt to resolve open murder cases, and Osman has already signed a deal for two sequels. Famed filmmaker Steven Spielberg has also bought the rights for a film adaptation, so we may well see a movie within a few years.