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Monday, November 8, 2021

THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE: REVIEW

The plot changes direction constantly, and keeps changing right up until the very end. Osman skilfully keeps us hooked. (Review by Barry Meehan)

If you haven’t heard of Richard Osman, then I’m afraid you’re missing out. He makes regular appearances on UK television, on programmes such as QI, Would I Lie to You?, and several others, as well as being the co-host on Pointless. His dry sense of humour is key to his appearances, and comes across quite brilliantly in his latest novel.

The Man Who Died Twice is the second in the “Thursday Murder Club” series of mysteries. In case you missed the first, it chronicles the lives of four senior citizens who live in Cooper’s Chase in the leafy English countryside. They meet on Thursdays to go over cold murder cases that have taken place in the UK.

- Elizabeth, the natural leader and former MI5 operative, whose razor-sharp mind is forever ticking over, invents scenario after possible scenario for their cases, both cold and suddenly hot, when she receives a letter from a dead man, inviting her to a meeting.

- Joyce, Elizabeth’s sidekick, is just the most delightful character, who can go from incredibly na├»ve to surprisingly astute in seconds, and at times takes over the narrative in diary fashion, with almost a laugh per line.

- Ibrahim – always good at thinking things through before making his sometimes lengthy pronouncements on any subject under discussion.

- Ron – a former trade unionist whose bluff manner hides a soft underbelly, especially where his friends are concerned.

Add to the principals a whole raft of other characters, all well-layered and thoroughly believable – Chris and Donna, the local constabulary, mystery man Bogdan, Douglas – one of Elizabeth’s former husbands, MI5 operative Poppy with the bright blonde hair, drug dealers, mafia bosses, assassins and many others, and you have a wonderful and intricate plot that will tax the brains of the Thursday Murder Club, not to mention those of the readers of this wonderfully entertaining novel.

The plot changes direction constantly, and keeps changing right up until the very end. Osman skilfully keeps us hooked. Every time one thinks that one has it all figured out, think again as the proverbial spanner is thrown into the works, taking one off on another delightful tangent. Bodies pile up as the Club members continue their investigation, hoping they can identify the killer, before the killer finds them.

The Man Who Died Twice is – in my humble opinion – the book of the year, and would make a great Christmas present – either for yourself or any loved one. I can’t wait for The Thursday Murder Club 3 to hit the shelves!

The Man Who Died Twice is published by VIKING – an imprint of Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-241-42543-5 – Barry Meehan