The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman
I've got my crystal ball out again. I've already predicted what book will be on the end of year best books lists, and now I've gone all Septic Peg by predicting this year's bestseller. And here it is. It's well deserved and is, of course, the hotly anticipated third book in the marvellous Thursday Murder Club series.
Just in case you have missed the anticipation, let me catch you up. A few years back Richard Osman visited an upmarket retirement village which offered a wide variety of clubs and activities. Inspired he began writing The Thursday Murder Club, a novel about 4 very different characters. A gentle psychiatrist, a resourceful ex MI6 spy, a firebrand Union leader and a man-mad kind lady called Joyce. These four come together every Thursday to go through files and solve murders. It's cosy crime at its very best and with Osman's wonderful observations is laugh out loud funny. The Bullet that Missed is the third in the series. How would it fare?
It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.
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.
Then a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill or be killed.
As the cold turns red 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?
Well this is just the best fun!
First off let us talk about those wonderful characters. My favourite will always be Elizabeth (think Helen Mirren's character from RED), but I do have rather a soft spot for gentle Ibrahim, who sets about counselling a murderer and trying to be happy for his best friend, Ron, who has started a new relationship. Joyce is the heart of the story and it was fascinating to learn that Richard Osman's mum believes Joyce should be played by Pauline Collins. I now can't unsee this. Ron is fantastic, a real man's man trying to negotiate his way through a very different world. The scene where he has a couples massage with his new lady friend Pauline had me snorting tea through my nose.
The cast are joined by a wonderful set of supporting characters. Bogdan, Donna, Chris and Patrice. Viktor, an associate of Elizabeth's and former ex-KGB questioner proving a very welcome addition.
But it is Osman's own gentle observational writing that makes this wonderfully funny and full of warmth. The chapter when a room is described as 'full of testosterone' was another tea through the nose moment for me.
And so in conclusion, great story, marvellous characters and an author who is able to gently observe a strange world. Mr Osman deserves every success. In my humble opinion, the Thursday Murder Club novels are going from strength to strength. Long May it continue.