Viking | 2021 (16 September) | 432p | Review copy | Buy the book
When ex-spy Elizabeth receives a letter from a man she knows to be dead, it becomes clear that this is not going to be a normal week for the residents of the Coopers Chase retirement community. A man with whom Elizabeth has a long past needs her help – and that of the Thursday Murder Club. He’s now realised that perhaps it wasn’t a good idea after all to steal those diamonds worth many millions of dollars from the NYC Mob. It’s hard to imagine a bigger target on his back. It’s not long before the septuagenarian Thursday Murder Club and their police friends have a ruthless murderer to hunt. You could almost feel sorry for the killer…
Richard Osman’s debut novel The Thursday Murder Club was one of my top reads of 2020. I absolutely loved it, with its delicious mix of wit, cosiness and wickedness, all brought together with the most fantastic prose. Any fears that the author couldn’t do it again were instantly dispelled when I read the very first page of The Man Who Died Twice. It is absolutely fantastic!
I’m giving nothing more away about what’s going on in this fine novel but I do want to say a bit about why I love it so much. I love all of the characters but Joyce, whose journal entries are scattered throughout the book, is my favourite. A former nurse, she’s lived for others and is now having the time of her own life helping Elizabeth to dig out bad guys. The disparity between how she appears and what she reveals in the journal is just wonderful, but, while it’s funny, it’s also extremely poignant in some ways. And that poignancy is present with others, too, especially Ibrahim, the psychiatrist. The humanity of the writing is incredible. All of the characters are given their little moments for us to connect with on really quite a deep level, even DCI Chris Hudson. I was so moved by him in The Man Who Died Twice. So, actually, when I say that I love Joyce the most, maybe I’m wrong, maybe I adore them all equally.
The baddies are brilliant! The insight we’re given into the mindset of one of the villains is fantastic – evil trying not to be evil while knowing that he really is very evil but still wanting to be polite. Absolutely wonderful.
The plot is magnificent and works on so many levels. Enough said about that.
Richard Osman has done it again. Rarely have I felt so warmly attached to characters and, in these books, there’s not just one or two characters to love but several. A fabulous plot, beautifully witty and kind, clever, poignant and tragic at times, even shocking, and so completely fun to read. Please can we have more!!
The Thursday Murder Club