THE MAN WHO DIED TWICE BY RICHARD OSMAN

We have gathered all the fantastic reviews our Book Club Members have sent us this month.

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REVIEWS

Sue Newell

This book, when it arrived unexpectedly, seemed like an early Christmas present. I read and enjoyed it over the (not very) festive season. I think that Richard Osman has identified a market among senior citizens who have time to read and with whom references to Waitrose, Taggart and Masterchef etc. resonate. I’m sure a TV series is envisaged too. The story follows on from The Thursday Murder Club, which I have read. I was therefore familiar with the Coopers Chase Retirement Village, the members of the TMC and other characters like Bogdan and the local police officers Chris and Donna - all sympathetic people even though some are capable of dodgy and not very legal ways of achieving what they perceive as justice. I thought that the plot of this book was better than that of the first one even though, again, there were twists and turns and red herrings. Also things about which you had to suspend disbelief (it is fiction) like the selling of the diamonds for cash, no questions asked. All in all, it was a good read with a satisfying conclusion.

Maggie Lishman

I read the first of The Thursday Murder Club books when it was first published and greatly enjoyed both the plot and the characters. This book builds on that but could be read on its own as well. The four main characters are residents of a retirement complex: Elizabeth - a former spy whose beloved husband suffers from dementia, Joyce - a retired nurse, Ron - a retired trade unionist, and Ibrahim- a retired psychiatrist. In addition, there are Chris and Donna who are police officers, and Bogdan who now runs the nearby building site - all characters from the first book. This book focuses on Elizabeth and the appearance of one of her ex-husbands, also a spy who arrives with his minder, Poppy, at the retirement village. He’s in hiding after a visit to a major villain’s house where two million pounds worth of diamonds disappeared which he says he didn’t take! But it’s more complicated than that and one of the joys of this book is the interweaving of a number of tales. Ibrahim is mugged early on in the book and how Elizabeth, Ron and Joyce bring the culprit to justice when the conventional route fails is part of the overall plot. Also how the mugging affects Ibrahim highlights the victim’s response. The Thursday Murder Club members enjoy the challenges of finding the diamonds and seeing justice is done. This book fits well into the cosy crime genre with a certainty that in the end it will all work out as it should. It’s a complicated story with many strands gently making some important points about older people and how easily they can be, very wrongly, underestimated! A most enjoyable read.

Jenny Spacey

In this book we meet again with the characters from The Thursday Murder Club. However, this can easily be read as a stand-alone book. I especially enjoy the fact that although the main characters live in a retirement village, they enjoy food, wine and adventures. This is a refreshing portrait and very different to the usual stereotyping of older peoples’ lives. It is a fairly light read and it is necessary to suspend belief about some of the events described. However, this adds to the fun overall. I find it interesting to read of each individuals thoughts and feelings about aspects of their lives, amusing and sometimes sad. The plot twists and turns with various clues and ‘red herrings’ and maintains the pace throughout. In the acknowledgements section the author asks if we liked the ending. In particular, the last sentence. I did, but for me the most telling line was where a volunteer admin worker at a dementia charity thinks of ‘the man who died twice’. Very moving.

Valerie Lewis

I enjoyed this book more than Richard Osman's first book, probably because I was more familiar with the characters. The book is entertaining and intelligently written with a quirky sense of humour but also with a sharp insight into the mindset of 'people of a certain age'. The many twists and turns of the highly imaginative plot kept you guessing until the end of the book.

Susan Garside

Well done Richard Osman, I never guessed who the guilty party was, or the final outcome. Like the author, this book is witty, charming, quietly unassuming with hidden depth and will readily bring a smile to your face. It is of course pure fantasy and totally unbelievable, but who cares?! Thank you, Viking, for sending it to me and for it to arrive on my birthday was a bonus. Having already read its predecessor made it easy to slip back into the lives, personalities and environment of this books’ characters. Getting swept up in the adventures of the gang I have to admit that I did eventually get slightly puzzled by the timeline of some of the events (I should have made notes!) but all became somewhat clearer by the end of this absolutely fabulous old fashioned ripping yarn. Perfect reading any time you just want to escape everyday life or perhaps relax anywhere on a Viking ship with a drink and get lost in another world.

Jane Sumner

The Man Who Died Twice was a delight as far as I am concerned. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. As I had not read The Thursday Murder Club I decided to read it first. Although The Man Who Died Twice can be read as a standalone novel, I'm glad I did. The characters continue to develop, and the plots come thick and fast with several twists along the way... Usually, the heroes or heroines of books are depicted as young to middle aged, so it is a delight to find that the main characters are in the twilight of their years and still going strong, hopefully with no signs of slowing down soon. I look forward to Richard Osman’s third book with anticipation and would recommend his books to those who like 'cosy' mysteries with elements of dark humour.

Ray Murdoch

Following all the hype surrounding Richard Osman’s first book I made the error of reading The Thursday Murder Club about a year ago. It was so poorly written I vowed never to read another in this series. However, as I was chosen to receive a review copy from Viking, I felt duty bound to read and review the book. If anything, this is even worse than the first, caricature characters, banal dialogue, and a plot so far-fetched as to be sheer fantasy. The writing is lazy and formulaic, in the first chapter he uses the word "says" twenty-five times in just a few pages; does he not have a thesaurus to give a little variety to the vocabulary, or an editor? Seemingly any ‘national treasure’ celebrity feels they can pick up a pen and turn their hand to writing novels. There are many excellent crime and spy novels currently on the bookshop shelves and this isn’t one of them!

Marion Murray

Having read Richard Osman’s first book, The Thursday Murder Club I was somewhat ambivalent about reading this second book in the series. However, I really enjoyed The Man Who Died Twice and it quickly became a real page turner. The characters are the same as the larger-than-life people who first appear in The Thursday Murder Club. (It does help to have read the first book for this reason.) With Richard Osman’s dry sense of humour, they come alive and the relationships between them are brilliantly crafted. There are many moments of laughing out loud. I am certainly looking forward to reading the next book in the series when it is published.

Julia Steward

This is the first time I have read a book by Richard Osman and The Man Who Died Twice is a cracking read. I took it with me when visiting friends at Christmas and had a job to put it down. The storyline really appealed to me as it was something that could happen and even right up until the last, I thought I’d uncovered the 'villain' only to be proved wrong. It’s written in such a way that each character has an individual storyline and what happens to the 'diamonds' in the end is just brilliant.

Helen Gatenby

Yet another success from Richard Osman, The Man who Died Twice confirms his writing talent. This is it a brilliant page turner not only enticing you into a murder mystery but in addition develops the charming and amusing characters to which we were introduced to in his first book, The Thursday Murder Club. The characters confirm that age and experience of the world can result in profound wisdom which in turn can inform another generation. Like The Murder Club, live for today and enjoy, especially this book.

Helen Freeborn

Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the first of Osman's 'Thursday murder club' novels, I was really pleased to be given the second in the series. Anyone expecting Booker Prize-winning stuff will be disappointed, but if you like a plot that moves along nicely, has really engaging characters and some intriguing mystery at its heart, you'll love The Man Who Died Twice. Osman's customary warm humour permeates a novel that includes violent deaths - but these stories aren't meant to be very realistic and even a major nit-picker like me needs to be able to suspend disbelief and just enjoy the story. The four members of the Thursday Murder Club, which takes place in a retirement village, are back with all their recognisable foibles and talents, solving a mystery and helping to catch criminals, with support from police officers Chris and Donna. Elizabeth, the former spy, takes centre stage in this novel, ably supported by her colleagues Joyce and Ron, while Ibrahim takes a back seat as a result of a traumatic incident. In short, this is a funny, absorbing novel – but please don’t take it too seriously!

Les Lester

A witty, life (and death)-affirming story, multi-faceted with the various plot strands culminating in a clever and satisfying conclusion, making a good case for doing the wrong thing if it is for the right reason. At times one thinks these things simply could not happen here and, in this age, but, on reflection, the Bard’s observation that ‘there are more things in heaven and Earth....’ comes to mind. We have more glimpses into the back stories, foibles and characters of the inhabitants of Cooper’s Chase and, being of a ‘certain’ age I could relate to their understanding and misunderstandings of 21st century technology and mores. It can be that second novels prove disappointing when compared to their predecessor, but this is certainly not the case on this occasion. A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Nigel Lees

An entertaining, enjoyable and humorous follow up to The Thursday Murder Club. A story of murder, secret service agents, diamonds, drugs and a quartet of septuagenarians and their friends. What more could you ask for? I thoroughly enjoyed every page.

Mike Steward

It may be that I should have read Richard's first book in this series before tackling The Man Who Died Twice, but I could not get into this novel at all and gave up quite early on. I did not like the frequent changes in the perspective from which the story was told nor the bitty development that resulted from that structure. I felt he was trying to be too clever by far in his choice of storytelling style and was sacrificing the plot for a (for me, failed) attempt to show off.

Susan Stout

This is the second book that Richard Osman has written and after the rave reviews given for his first book, I was very keen to read this one. Unfortunately, after few chapters my heart began to sink, and I found myself struggling to keep interested in a story that slowly but surely meandered all over the place and got sillier by the minute. There are a lot of side stories that add little or nothing to the main story and just added to the general confusion that I felt, and I found it hard to keep track of the huge amount of characters. I feel that as a holiday read it may be too involved and I certainly did not feel that I couldn’t wait to get back to it. The ending was a huge disappointment; I feel that the author had run out of steam and was keen to finish it off. Perhaps his next book will be a little more promising or will it be a little like marmite, love it or hate it.