Posted 20 hours ago

The Bullet That Missed: (The Thursday Murder Club 3)

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We know by now that outwitting international drug-dealers would be child’s play to the Club’s omnicompetent leader, retired spy Elizabeth, but she has more pressing concerns. In previous books, her husband Stephen had been able to play some part in the adventures despite being in the early stages of dementia, but he has now reached the stage of being only intermittently able to ­recognise her. This storyline marks the series’s transition from quietly poignant to deeply moving, with Osman giving us some of his best writing yet as Elizabeth’s ­situation prompts the other Club members to reflect on their own griefs and lost loves, with one ­character disclosing some sad secrets.

THE THIRD NOVEL IN THE RECORD-BREAKING, MILLION-COPY BESTSELLING THURSDAY MURDER CLUB SERIES BY RICHARD OSMAN Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club are concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers. Those of us who write comic crime are often asked to explain the appeal. We can’t. It all boils down to your attitude to entertainment. If you are happy to let other pens dwell on guilt and misery, you can relax and enjoy this novel, which is superbly entertaining. And of course it’s never just about the laughs. The comedy in The Man Who Died Twice allows for all its characters to be alert to sobering realities: of time running out; of losing loved ones to death or dementia; of feeling physically unsafe in the modern world; of grown-up children finding you stupid and tiresome. It’s this self-awareness that grounds Osman’s characters, and makes us look forward to seeing them again. I would only add on a personal note that it’s a particular challenge to read this book while attempting a sugar-free diet. I managed to steel myself to all the Twixes, but the throwaway reference to chocolate fingers on p284 nearly broke me.Opening the new Osman is like sitting down to dinner with treasured friends you know are going to kill you - deliciously!' PETER JAMES Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club is concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers. Naturally, however, Osman doesn’t miss an opportunity for comedy, and with Elizabeth ­occupied elsewhere, the mild-mannered Joyce – surely Osman’s finest creation – makes an effort to channel Elizabeth’s acerbity and imperturbability as she and her pals hunt Kuldesh’s killer. As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

And yet, just as visits to ­Coopers Chase are becoming an annual tradition, Osman has announced that he is to ­abandon the Club for a while to write a new series “about a father-in-law/daughter-in-law detective duo”. Thank goodness that in an afterword to this book, he promises to reassemble Joyce and co soon. It will take a lot more of the ­painful reality of old age to intrude on Coopers Chase before it stops being, for hundreds of thousands of readers, an essential refuge from the cares of real life.


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