The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman is a heartwarming, funny crime mystery. I’ll admit that this is the first time I’ve called a book from this genre heartwarming and funny, but once you’ve met the members of the Thursday Murder Club, I have no doubt that you will agree.
Elizabeth, a former MI5 operative, is drawn into a new adventure after someone unexcepted from her past asks for help. Her contact is on the run after stealing diamonds from a dangerous criminal banker. Her friends are of course eager to jump in to lend a hand: Joyce, a former nurse; Ron, a retired union leader; and Ibrahim a retired psychiatrist.
You’ll meet their two friends on the Force, DCI Chris Hudson and PC Donna De Freitas, who although are fond of the four septuagenarians have also learnt not to underestimate them. There’s a wonderful banter between them all and the respect that’s been earned is quite evident too.
After Ibrahim is brutally attacked the friends draw closer to him, and before long you realise that whoever is to blame will eventually pay the price. And so begins the mission to track down the culprit and find justice, but at the same time the remaining trio is also busy hunting down a killer who is clearly intent on finding the diamonds no matter who stands in the way.
There is a theme of ageing that runs through the book – yet while the sad reality of death and dementia is dealt with respectfully, the four elderly characters will often have you in stitches as they play-up their age but are in fact still of sound mind. It’s a delicate balance which I think Osman struck well, delivering an accurate look at the feelings and challenges faced by the elderly, but also highlighting how we need to acknowledge their value in the world.
One thing’s for sure, the Thursday Murder Club is definitely not quite ready to trade the excitement and intrigue of a case for the peace and quiet of the Cooper’s Chase retirement village.
Thanks to Penguin Random House for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.