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The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman - Review

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

I read Richard Osman's first book and was quite disdainful towards it because it annoyed me in quite a few ways. You can read my review here. My mum wanted me to read it so I did. She has also read this second one so I decided I would read it. I do think that Richard's writing has improved between the first and second book, this one is better written and has a better story I think. However, it did still annoy me in parts. 

So we're back with the Thursday Murder Club, only a couple of weeks after the events of the first book. Ibrahim borrows Ron's car to go into Fairhaven and on his way back to the car three youths on bikes steal his phone and then beat him up, leaving him ill enough to be hospitalised. Ron, Elizabeth and Joyce are rightfully worried for their friend, and want to find out who did it. 

But also, Elizabeth is distracted because a letter has been put under her door purporting to be from someone that doesn't exist, a cover up that Elizabeth was involved in in her time in MI5. The letter turns out to be from her ex-husband Douglas, who is in a safe house on the complex that the Thursday Murder Club all live on. He is as charming as ever, but he is in trouble. He was involved in an MI5 break in to a house belonging to a notorious gangster, Martin Lomax, and some diamonds have hone missing in the break in. Douglas was identified by Lomax and threatened by him, hence the safe house. He is being looked after by a young woman called Poppy. He says he didn't steal the diamonds but Elizabeth doesn't believe him. 

But a man breaks in with the intent to kill Douglas, and Poppy ends up shooting him dead. Joyce gets a note from Poppy asking her to phone Poppy's mum, which Joyce duly does. MI5 officers Sue and Lance come to the complex to sort everything out. The Thursday Murder Club then end up involved in a murder mystery, gangland wars, trying to find out who attacked Ibrahim, as well as the usual stuff with their families and friends. 

I found the book compelling and wanted to keep reading it. The story did entertain me. I felt like the first half of the book was almost satirical in nature, and I'm not sure if that was the feel that Richard was going for or not, but I found it strange. The second half seemed to settle down, though. I liked how we got to know Elizabeth and Joyce a bit better. Ron and Ibrahim are in this book a little less; I felt like Ibrahim was almost a token character in the first book, but I liked him in this one. Chris, the detective, didn't annoy me as much in this book, and his romance with Donna (also a police officer)'s mum Patrice was very cute. 

I will read the next one. I also noticed that Richard used the verb 'agrees' a lot less here - in the first book there were nearly a hundred uses of the word, but in this one there were just 40, which made it seem much more normal and much less of a writer's tic. I'm giving this four out of five. 

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