Back in 2020 when I was given my very first proof copy of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club and devoured it one rainy long weekend, I knew he was on a winner. Writing in the genre I call #cosycrime, Osman had nailed the easy-to-read, funny, heart-warming murder mystery. No forensic jargon or gory details stain these pages, although the dead bodies do pile up. Plausibility is stretched at times, but everyone is having so much fun that it doesn’t matter (to this reader at least).
I’ve had proof copies of the following two books in the series lying around in my TBR stacks since July 2021 (The Man Who Died Twice) and 2022 (The Bullet That Missed). It took a nasty sinusitis event this past week or so to make these two books the perfect reading choice.
My head feels like it is full of cotton wool, completely unable to follow complicated, intricate plots, or appreciate elaborate literary writing. All I want at the moment is light, fun stories that hooks me in, keep the pace moving and entertain.
Both books delivered in spades.
Title: The Man Who Died Twice (book 2) Author: Richard Osman ISBN: 9780241425435 Imprint: Viking Published 16 September 2021 Format: Trade Paperback Pages 424 Dates Read: 22 March 2023 - 25 March 2023
The following Thursday…
‘I was talking to a woman in Rushkin Court and she said she’s on a diet,’ says Joyce, finishing her glass of wine. ‘She’s eighty-two.’
The Man Who Died Twice picks up exactly one week after the first book with a surprise visit from Elizabeth’s first husband and fellow MI5 agent, Douglas. Suddenly our four senior citizen amateur detectives find themselves hunting down a thug who attacked Ibrahim in town, protecting Douglas from an assassin and trying to find a bag of stolen diamonds.
The two local police officers (Chris and Donna) are brought back into the story to help them track down the local thug and Bogdan (the Polish handyman) also makes a welcome return.
Joyce and Elizabeth play the starring roles in this particular story. We learn more about Elizabeth’s earlier career as well see her grapple with the heart-breaking reality of her current husband Stephen’s failing memory. Joyce is becoming more and more like Betty White as we get to know her – unflappable, with a ready opinion on everything and always on the look out for love.
I am learning that it is important to stop sometimes, and just have a drink and a gossip with your friends, even as corpses start to pile up around you.
At the heart of this book is friendship (and love) – between all the characters and with us the readers. Even the baddies have some redeeming qualities and funny lines.
Osman likes to wrap up his stories in a satisfactory manner. Those who get their just desserts, deserve it, justice is served, if not completely above board and our band of amateur sleuths all live to tell another story.
Title: The Bullet That Missed Author: Richard Osman ISBN: 9780241512432 Imprint: Viking Published: 15 September 2022 Format: Trade Paperback Pages: 432 Dates Read: 25 March 2023 - 28 March 2023
‘I don’t need make-up,’ says Ron. He’s in a straight-backed chair because Ibrahim told him you mustn’t slouch on television.
When writing a series that is so character-driven, it is essential to have likeable characters, ones that your readers are happy to spend time with, ones that come to feel like friends or people you’d like to meet one day. That’s the charm that Osman has found with this series.
The Bullet That Missed not only provides endearing and important character development, but whip-smart, fast-paced mystery and action. The story begins with our elderly sleuths looking into a cold case featuring a young local reporter who died suddenly and mysteriously. But then Elizabeth’s MI5 past comes back to haunt her. She is threatened into killing an old foe….or be killed.
The simple life is all well and good, but, in this moment, with a murder to investigate, and threatening texts arriving daily, Elizabeth realizes that she has missed trouble.
Joyce gets a new room mate and tries her hand at Instagram, celebrity chasing and cryptocurrency. Ibrahim spends time in gaol interviewing and counselling a local drug queen while Ron plays snooker with the mafia and falls in love. At any other time, reading two Thursday Murder Club books back-to-back may have been a mistake, but right now it was just what the doctor ordered! Pure escapism with four delightful friends.
If I ever have to end my days in a retirement village, I want it to be just like Coopers Chase!
Book four, The Last Devil to Die, is due in September this year.
|This post was written on the traditional land of the Wangal clan, one of the 29 clans of the Eora Nation within the Sydney basin. This Reading Life acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are our first storytellers.|
12 thoughts on “The New Thursday Murder Club Mysteries | Richard Osman”
I also enjoy these when I just want a light, escapist read. And I definitely want to retire to Coopers Close!
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You know, I’ve been looking for a retirement village just like Cooper Chase in my home town (which, of course, non exists). But who knows, 20 years from now, just when I’d need it! 😉
Joyce is my favorite of the four, and you’re right, she’s so Betty White!
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I have only read the first one, and really enjoyed it. I agree with you, it is so nice to read these cosy mysteries in between more ‘serious’ stories. It is important to love the people. I have just started the Donna Leon series, and there are some very ‘multo simpatico’ characters that are so nice to return to.
I’ve been seeing these books pop up, but assumed they weren’t for me (I don’t usually go for mysteries) — but they do sound like lots of fun. Thanks for your review! I may look for #1 when I head back to the library this week. 🙂
I have been avoiding some of the popular new mystery series because they seem to rely solely on gimmicks, and some of the ones I’ve read have been horrible as well as badly written. However, maybe I will try an Osman based on your review.
Yet to read any of these — despite liking anything Richard Osman is a presenter for on television – but I will get to them someday, I will!
His books are such life savers especially for the blue days. And I agree with everything you said. There is so much joy in these books…..my sister and I are convinced that we will be Elizabeth ( her ) & Joyce ( me ) of our retirement community whenever that happens.
I’ve clearly been out of it as I got a Saturday Paper trivia question wrong about this series recently! And now in the Soave of a week there’s been that Trivia question, you and my son’s partner all telling me about this series. Life is so weird!
I haven’t got The Bullet That Missed yet as they always turn up in The Works for £5 or local charity shops for less so I’m not spending £10 on the hardback (also The Works). But really enjoyed The Man Who Died Twice and even managed to understand the plot fully, unlike with the first one!
I hope you find a copy soon Liz, the Bullet was a lot of fun too. Really looking forward to book four now in September!
It will come to me in the Fullness of Time. And then I’ll enjoy reading it with Mr Liz, he on the audio book, trying to work out what chapter we’ve got up to without spoiling the plot for each other!