Review of 'The Man Who Died Twice' - Richard Osman
I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Thursday Murder Club' so when I saw this second installment was available for review through NetGalley, I immediately put in a request to review it. To be honest, given how much this book was being publicised, I thought I was chancing my arm a little bit, but to my surprise, I got accepted and I was delighted to receive an advance copy to read and review.
In this second book in the series, not only do we get another cracking mystery to solve, but as I'd hoped, we also learn more about the four main characters, particularly Elizabeth, and their lives before the retirement home and the Murder Club. Although the perspective switches around between the various characters, Joyce is the dominant narrative voice and this works really well. She is the Miss Marple-esque character - all soft and fluffy on the outside, but with a core of steel and a good brain, even if she doesn't always realise it herself. I love how it feels as though she is talking to the reader - the chatty narrative style suits her character perfectly and pulls the reader right into the action alongside her. Her foray into the world of Instagram had me giggling right from the start, as did her throwaway comment about it right at the end of the book.
With my writer's head on, although the writing was obviously good in the first book, I think it's even better in this one and there are some truly beautiful images. When Joyce is talking about waking up from a dream about her deceased husband, she says of the retirement home, 'I imagine if you could hear all the morning tears in this place it would sound like birdsong.' It's beautiful and heartbreaking all in the same sentence.
As I mentioned earlier, in this instalment of the series we find out more about Elizabeth. She is utterly ruthless, as demonstrated at various points in the book, but in a 'charming old person' kind of way. This not only allows for some comedic moments, when the reader is far more aware than the character facing her, what is about to happen. However, it also makes you realise what a force she must have been in her prime.
The initial incident strikes right at the heart of the group of friends and I love their response to what happens. On one level we know the police probably shouldn't encourage them, but at the same time we want them to take matters into their own hands where the police are powerless to act. I want a group of friends like this when I'm approaching old age. They look out for each other in every way conceivable and it's wonderful!
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and eagerly anticipate the next instalment.
I'm hugely grateful to both the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC and for the opportunity to review the book.