The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
Hello from the other side! We are back from holiday, feeling fully rested and raring to go. Boy did we need that holiday! I'm starting back with a book I've been very excited to read for some time whilst trying to remember how to blog.
Here it is! 2021's most anticipated novel! Last year's Thursday Murder Club dominated all the bestseller and Books of the Year lists and there was a real sense of excitement to its follow-up.
The Plot (from the inside cover)
It's the following Thursday.
Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. 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, before the killer finds them?
I'll start by saying that I very much enjoyed this. The plot was great, we learnt more about Elizabeth and the feel of the novel is almost self-deprecating. It's gentle and quietly sarcastic. However there were some bittersweet and also very touching moments especially surrounding Ibrahim.
Ibrahim is enjoying his life until he is mugged and loses all his confidence. He struggles to feel optimistic, becomes reclusive and refuses to leave his flat. It is heart-breaking to watch this sweet man become a shadow of his former self. But this is tempered by the support from the Thursday Murder Club members. Ron stays by Ibrahim's side, refusing to let him be alone at the hospital. Joyce gently persuades him out and Elizabeth ensures that his attacker receives retribution. It is still heartbreaking though. Richard, what are you doing to us?
I love the interplay between Elizabeth and Joyce. Elizabeth remains brilliant yet scary. as Joyce says I would not want to be her enemy. She is resourceful with a very dubious past. But in this novel she doesn't entirely get her own way all of the time. When she is being especially intimidating, Joyce is the cosy character by her side.
Joyce definitely feels more well-rounded in this novel. She is still slightly man-mad and is usually oblivious to the solutions that Elizabeth has worked out. But she is warm and motherly even to those on the wrong side of Elizabeth.
Bogdan's character is also fleshed out. He seems to have become a literary pin-up, just as capable as Elizabeth (who he adores) and appears to have been inducted into the Thursday Murder Club. He is happy to do Elizabeth's bidding.
Amazingly I did manage to work out the murderer, but i enjoyed the journey and loved learning all abut the inner workings of MI5.
The book is a worthy successor to the Thursday Murder Club and I am already looking forward to the next in the series about these wonderful characters.