Title: The Man Who Died Twice – The Thursday Murder Club Book 2
Author: Richard Osman
Published by: Viking – Penguin
Publication date: 16th Sept 2021
It’s the following Thursday.
Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and 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 (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?
Many thanks to Viking for the eArc approval of The Man who Died Twice, via NetGalley. I appreciate the chance to read this book and I hope that you find my review satisfactory.
The Man who Died Twice is the second book by Richard Osman in his The Thursday Murder Club series and see’s the reader rejoining the retirees of Coopers Chase on another of their mysterious adventures. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim return with another caper to solve. I requested this book via NetGalley as I was enjoying the first half of the previous novel. I probably should have waited until finishing that particular offering though, as my enjoyment severely dipped during the later half.
I found The Thursday Murder Club became rather incredulous as it went on and sadly, that’s not a feeling that dissipated during The Man who Died Twice. The star of the show is Elizabeth; a character that I found difficult to get along with in the first book, due to her know-it-all nature and how everything seems to fall in her lap. Sadly, the same is true in this book also. It is she that has the answer to everything and the plot is central to her live and experiences. It left all the other characters seeming to take a back seat while she dominated the story. Her live as a former MI5 agent came to the forefront of the novel which sees her reunited with a former husband – who happens to have stolen Twenty Million Pounds worth of diamonds from the Mafia. Just as in the previous book, I found that the plot of the story bent to easily to her whim and she had the answers for everything.
While in the previous book, I enjoyed the diary extracts from Joyce as they seemed to serve a fulfilling purpose to the book. Sadly, in The Man who Died Twice they serve as a savage recap that don’t add anything new to the overall progress of the novel. Sometimes reiterating events that happened on the chapter previously; I found these somewhat jarring and as though I was being treated as I was too slow to understand what I had just read.
There was also something amiss about the humour in this book too; the quirky quips, rather than entertaining and witty felt more sarcastic and undermining. I often found myself cringing as I read them and uncomfortable for the characters that had thought them – this seems to be a new element to the series and, should the books continue, I hope that they are toned down in future as they seemed baseless and derogatory to the writing.
Which brings me to add that the writing felt rushed and at times lazy. The dialogue felt forced and unnatural in places. One of the reasons I enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club was that each of the characters held something of their own; each of the four main characters in the club had their own individuality and voice. Somehow, that has been vastly reduced in The Man who Died Twice and the voices seem to have blended. I struggled to see where Joyce ended and Elizabeth started and the same went for the male characters in the novel. With the exception that Joyce has turned into a perpetually horny teenager at the age of eighty; I don’t think there was a male character in the book that she didn’t take a shine too – this made me cringe almost as much as the bizarre quips.
The plot of The Man who Died Twice is interesting enough, the loss of Twenty Million pounds worth of Diamonds and the connection to the residents of Coopers Chase was enough to keep the pages turning to begin with. Sadly, as the book progressed and the characters took over as a driving force of the novel, I only continued reading out of a sense of duty. The stereotypes in the characters, the convenience of everything falling into place and the poorly written sub-plots involving characters that were shoe-horned in the previous book had me wanting to finish the book as soon as possible.
I think there’s certainly a feeling of incompatibility for me when it comes to Richard Osmans writing style – he comes up with some interesting plot concepts and the threads are always nicely wrapped up – but relies on tired character tripes, cliches and a sense of humour that doesn’t match my own to prop it up. I only moderately enjoyed The Thursday Murder Club by the end of it and The Man who Died Twice really didn’t hit the mark. So, while I am grateful for the eARC of this book, I won’t be rushing out to pick up the next one.
A set of characters that don’t stand out from one another as they once did – with one of them being near insufferable with her derogatory quips towards her friends. A decent enough plot that is hindered by bloated ‘filler’ chapters and characters that relied too heavily on stereotypes and have lost their charm from the previous book. A series that I won’t be returning too, due to incompatibility in humour and writing styles.