This sequel to the author’s acclaimed The Thursday Murder Club is a riotous if occasionally silly murder mystery that is still immensely enjoyable read.
What made The Thursday Murder Club so immensely enjoyable was its characters and their outlook on life – in particular the way in which the way that four residents (Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim) of the Coopers Chase retirement village spent their time discussing murders before one literally turned up on their doorstep.
This sequel (which takes places automatically after the events of the first book – but on top of murder to be solved there is also the question of stolen £20 million diamonds to be found. As well as our four sleuths, you see their world expanded to include secret agents, a charming (if flawed ex-husband), a dangerous gangster – oh and the mafia as well.
Through the use of his distinctive sense of humour and the way in which he uses dialogue, Richard Osman has created a book that is filled with silliness and exaggeration plot wise – but is also immensely entertaining and enjoyable. But on top of this, you really don’t see the ending coming so it definitely keeps you thoroughly engaged.
As you would expect from a crime novel there are plenty of twists along the way as the gang all navigate their way through this new mystery – but also the plot allows us to get to know all of the characters a little bit better – particularly Elizabeth and Joyce who are particularly at the heart of getting to solve the double mystery. By allowing us them to get into the characters inner thoughts, Osman makes it easier for us to bond and care about them – despite a few flaws in the plot which does tend to get a little over the top as the climatic confrontation moment proves.
What is also clever about the way in which Osman has written this book is how he manages to switch perspectives with complete ease and style. For example one chapter might be written as though Joyce is writing in her diary, while another makes us feel as though we are part of the action as seen through the character’s eyes. It is also filled with warmth, sentimentality and plenty of great one liners as the central characters attempt to navigate modern life in different ways.
Yes perhaps the plot is not quite as strong as the first book – but it is still richly entertaining and ideal reading if you want your murder mystery book with a little bit of humour.
By Emma Clarendon
The Man Who Died Twice is available to buy now.