Today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on book two in the Thursday Murder Club series by Richard Osman, The Man Who Died Twice. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in their first adventure so was curious to see what trouble they would get themselves into this time. My thanks to publisher Penguin for the advance copy of the book for review. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
It’s the following Thursday.
Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.
As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?
But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can The Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?
Well, this was certainly a change of pace. Espionage, diamond theft, drug deals and murder … All in a day’s work for the Thursday Murder Club it appears. The septuagenarian amatuer sleuths are back and with one heck of a bang. Love it.
What I really enjoy about this series is that you never know quite what to expect, and whilst Richard Osman may have been finding his feet with book one, getting to know the characters of Elizabeth, Joybe, Ron and Ibrahim, there is no doubting he has the measure of them this time around and truly brings them all to life. They may all be in their seventies, but they show no sign of slowing up, no matter what challenges are set before them. And this case is a challenging one for sure.
What I liked most about this book, was getting to know more about Elizabeth’s past. Although she is still somewhat secretive – her career as one of the countries top spies proving a hard habit to break – the introduction of a face from her past, Marcus Carmichael, forcing her back into the world of spies and secrets, gives us a much broader idea of the tour-de-force behind the TMC. We’re able to contrast that history against her current situation and her love for her husband, Stephen, who is slowly succumbing to dementia. I humanises her, expanding upon the few moments of emotion that we saw in book one, but it made me like her all the more.
As for the wider team, it’s fun having the chapters which are told in Joyce’s voice, the entries from her journal. They really are like a stream of consciousness, an amusing interlude which make seem to take us a step away from the case, but really feed us more information than we realise in Joyce’s happy-go-lucky way. Joyce is one of the types of people you really can’t help but like. Seemingly clueless about so many things of modern life, (especially social media usernames …) and yet far more astute and intelligent than her sunny nature may indicate. Then you have Ron, whose priority this time around is less on the main case and more on getting justice for Ibrahim after he suffers a personal setback. I like the pairing of the two men in this book. Chalk and cheese, and yet absolutely dedicated to each other. They way in which the friendship and what happens is portrayed is both touching and authentic, and really pulled me into their particular thread of the story.
There is a big mystery at the heart of this book – a million or two (or twenty) pounds worth of diamonds stolen and a suspect with a target firmly on their back. It falls to the Thursday Murder Club to unofficially solve the case of theft as well as try to recover the missing loot. Richard Osman really keeps the suspense, the laughs and the mystery going throughout, drip feeding in the clues and casting doubt over a number of the central players so you never quite know who to trust. When the case turns deadly, the pace picks up, and with DCI Chris Hudson and PC Donna De Freitas trying to catch a major player in the drug scene, there is more threat and tension than you might imagine from what is essentially a cosy crime caper. How the two cases intersect … well you need to read to find out, but I will admit that it made me smile. Very clever writing and a healthy portion of just desserts served.
I really enjoyed this book. I liked book one, but for me this just steps it up a notch. It has all the fun of the first book but perhaps feels a little more lighthearted in tone and quicker in pace. The characters are really coming into their own and, as crazy as it may seem, their intervention in such high profile cases does just seem to make sense. The growing friendship between the police team and the TMC just adds to the fun, the central characters playing off each other perfectly and I love the dynamic. And it’s a timely reminder not to write people off, just because they’ve moved past retirement age. I think there is a lot of life left in these old dogs yet (and hopefully newcomer, Alan, too) and I can’t wait to see what Richard Osman serves up next.
About the Author
Richard Osman’s popularity and tremendous knowledge of trivia led to him becoming an executive producer on numerous UK shows, as well as being the host of Pointless with seven million views. Osman’s debut, The Thursday Murder Club, was a #1 international bestseller. The Man Who Died Twice is his second novel.