Richard Osman

Books: Mystery | Queer

Thursday Murder Club: The Thursday Murder Club (2020), The Man Who Died Twice (2021), The Bullet That Missed (2022), The Last Devil to Die (2023)

Thursday Murder Club

The Thursday Murder Club (2020)

The Thursday Murder ClubAt a luxury retirement home, every Thursday, meets the Thursday Murder Club, where the four members look into unsolved crimes and try and figure them out to their satisfaction.

There is Ron.

Back in the days when he was in the papers, they called him Red Ron, though everyone was Red something in those days. Ron's picture was rarely in the papers without the caption "Talks between the two sides collapsed late last night."


"Would you like the detailed answer, or the simple answer?" asks Ibrahim.

"The simple answer, please, Ibrahim," says Elizabeth, without hesitation.

Ibrahim pauses. Perhaps he had phrased his question poorly? "But I have prepared a detailed answer, Elizabeth."

Joyce, whose diary entries intersperse the narrative, and who joined the group after Penny's stroke.

I have seen a lot of stab wounds in my time. My job wasn't all sprained ankles. So I said then, well, she wouldn't die at all. Which she wouldn't. It wouldn't have been fun for her, but it would have been easy to patch up.

And the (ring)leader of the group, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth put up more spirited opposition, mentioning that she still held a fully valid tank license. She really could play fast and loose with the Official Secrets Act at times. But in the end it all came down to this: Ibrahim was the only one who understood how the satnav worked.

I loved this story. I kept reading bits to Michael.

He looks like he smells great, but you wouldn't really want to get close enough to find out for sure.

He had once read a headline about Diet Coke that was so worrying he had chosen not to read the article.

But there were also bits that struck me strongly.

You always know when it's your first time, don't you? But you rarely know when it's your final time.

In life you have to learn to count the good days. You have to tuck them in your pocket and carry them around with you.

I immediately checked that I had the sequel.

Publisher: Penguin Books

August 2023 | Rating: 9/10

The Thursday Murder Club, Audio Book (2020) narrated by Lesley Manville

Publisher: Penguin Audio

October 2023 | Rating: 9/10

The Man Who Died Twice (2021)

The Man Who Died TwiceThis series is just fun,

After the adventures of the last book, Joyce has perhaps become a little bored.

"Do you think a dog might be good company?" asks Joyce. "I thought I might either get a dog or join Instagram."

Ibrihim also has his own insights into how he has lived his life.

You silly old man, he thinks as he turns the key in the ignition, you made the biggest mistake of them all. You forgot to live,

And then Elizabeth's ex-husband waltzes into the picture.

That twinkle in his eye was undimmed. The twinkle that gave an entirely undeserved suggestion of wisdom and charm. The twinkle that could make you walk down the aisle with a man almost ten years your junior and regret it within months. The twinkle you soon realize is actually the beam of a lighthouse, warning you off the rocks.

And Ron, is Ron.

He doesn't know where Elizabeth got hold of the overalls, but boy were they comfortable. He wonders if he's allowed to keep them. Wearing overalls every day would be a slippery slope, though. There's a thin line between wearing overalls and going to the shop in your pajamas.

It's fun and delightful and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Publisher: Penguin Books

September 2023 | Rating: 9/10

The Bullet That Missed (2022)

The Bullet That MissedThe gang are back together (they were never apart, actually) and have decided to look into the murder of a young newscaster, partially because it is an interesting case (no body was ever found) and partially because Joyce wants to meet the man she worked with before she died.

"I had read you were a Buddhist, Mike?" Ibrahim spent the morning researching their guest.

"I am," says Mike. "Thirty-odd years."

"Ah," says Ibrahim. "I had been under the impression that Buddhists were vegetarian? I was almost sure."

"I'm Church of England too," says Mike. "So I pick and choose. That's the point of being a Buddhist."

"I stand corrected," says Ibrahim.

Ah, Joyce.

I am Googling Heather Garbutt and listening to the World Service. She is difficult to Google, because there's also an Australian hockey player called Heather Garbutt, and most of the results are about her. I actually ended up quite interested in the hockey player, and I follow her on Instagram now. She has three very beautiful children.

The group comes to the attention of the police–beyond Chris and Donna.

"Then your other friends. The ladies?"

"Joyce and Elizabeth?"

"You might be comfortable with a chief constable questioning you. Ron might take it in his stride. But two elderly women? How do you think the two of them would react if I decided to question them? Because if I have to, I will."

Ibrahim laughs. "I wish you the very best of luck with that, Andrew."

This series remains a delight, always going places I would never expect–even with Elizabeth involved.

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

September 2023 | Rating: 9/10

The Last Devil to Die (2023)

The Last Devil to DieTW: Dementia, Death of a recurring character, Grief

The 4th (and most recent) Thursday Murder Club mystery finds Stephen succumbing to his battle with dementia.

Stephen doesn't always know who Bogdan is these days, but he likes his calmness. He fell asleep on Bogdan's shoulder the other day, and Bogdan missed a weightlifting session because he refused to disturb him.

The group has tried to befriend Mervyn (who Joyce's current crush) and it doesn't go well.

"You must miss her terribly," says Ibrahim. "When did you last see her?"

"We haven't, just as yet, met," says Mervyn, scraping tartar sauce off a scampo.

"You haven't met?" asks Joyce. "That seems unusual?"

"Just been unlucky," says Mervyn. "She had a flight canceled, then she had some cash stolen, and now there's the passport thing. The course of true love never did run smooth."

Stephen's friend Kuldesh is murdered in a seemingly senseless way, and the group looks into it.

Donna spots a mobile phone wedged behind a radiator. She wonders why Kuldesh hadn't taken it with him, then remembers he is eighty.

As expected, the group looks into it and meets many unsavory characters.

Dom points at Ibrahim. "I don't know your name, but you're the guy who goes to see Connie Johnson at Darwell Prison. Word is you're a Moroccan cocaine importer. That true?"

"No comment," says Ibrahim. Has Ron ever seen him look so proud?

"You," says Dom, nodding his head toward Elizabeth. "No idea who you are, but you've got a gun in your bag. Badly hidden."

"I'm not hiding it," says Elizabeth.

"Now do me," says Joyce.

Dom looks at Joyce. "You look like you've fallen in with a bad crowd."

I continue to identify strongly with Ibrahim.

Wherever he is, and whatever he is doing, the primary thought in Ibrahim's mind is always "How will I get home?" With one's car impounded? Impossible.

Truly adore him.

He downloaded the menu for her, but he has not printed it out, because you have to start somewhere. Ibrahim has stuck a Post-it note on both his printer and his laminator saying What would Greta Thunberg do?

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

December 2023 | Rating: 9/10