If you’re a fan of quirky British mysteries and you haven’t read anything by Richard Osman, then what’s holding you up? Last year I read his hilarious best-seller, The Thursday Murder Club. His latest novel The Man Who Died Twice is a continuation of this story.
The plot unfolds in Cooper’s Chase, a retirement community in southern England. Each week a group of retired professional residents meet in the Jigsaw Room to try and solve cold case mysteries. Elizabeth was a top espionage agent in her day; Ron was a tough union boss and labour organizer; Ibrahim is an analytical retired psychiatrist; Joyce was a nurse and is prone to getting crushes on the men around her.
This time the plot touches on her old life when Elizabeth’s former husband and fellow espionage agent turns up at Cooper’s Chase seeking help. He needs to hide from the Mafia who are under the impression he stole twenty million pounds worth of diamonds that were being held as security by a middle man posing as an international banker in England. Her ex is ten years younger than Elizabeth and while still working as an MI5 intelligence operative he is approaching his time to be put out to pasture. While she couldn’t resist his charms all those years ago, she is suspicious of his story but trusts his sincerity and goes along.
His MI5 assistant, Poppy, is a novice agent just starting her career and not entirely confident she’s in the right line of work. When their safe location at Cooper’s Chase is exposed, Poppy and Elizabeth’s ex are moved to another safe house in the seaside town of Hove on the southern coast of England. When Elizabeth answers his request to visit, taking Joyce along with her, they discover two dead bodies—Elizabeth’s ex and Poppy—with most of their heads blown off making them unrecognizable. Is it really them?
The Cooper’s Chase Thursday Murder Club is assisted in their sleuthing by a local handyman called Bogdan who has secrets of his own. Bogdan is Polish; he’s fit, handsome, and Joyce may have a crush on him. Most women do. The group is supported by local police detectives Donna and her supervisor Chris who have made friends with the Thursday Murder Club members. Chris has reached that point in middle age when he longs for love and a life outside police work but doesn’t seem to be making much progress until Donna’s mother Patrice enters the picture.
The Man Who Died Twice is a delicious whodunit. Richard Osman’s writing is sly, wry, and guaranteed to keep you turning the pages. Who was murdered and who wasn’t? Who is not what they appear to be? He perfectly captures that British gift for understatement and dry humour. I loved The Man Who Died Twice just as much as I enjoyed his earlier book, The Thursday Murder Club. It’s jolly good fun, a great British farce, and I can’t wait for his next one.
If you are unable to obtain The Man Who Died Twice or his earlier book The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman at your local bookstore or library, click on the above links or the image of the book below to order from Amazon.
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