It doesn’t give me any pleasure to write this mainly negative review. I mention that because I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series I gave it a glowing review when I read it last year. However, I’m afraid The Man Who Died Twice: (The Thursday Murder Club 2) just didn’t cut the mustard as far as I’m concerned.
As with Mr Osman’s debut novel, I sat down with this one eagerly anticipating the cosy mystery which would no doubt await me. So, I eased into my comfy armchair, a pot of freshly brewed tea sitting on the side table, and began turning those pages (on my Kindle). And you know what, I was soon whisked back to the lovely Coopers Chase retirement village, and it was so nice to get reacquainted with Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim, those elderly, self-appointed sleuths – aka The Thursday Murder Club. For a couple of hours, I was enjoying myself, and I soon got caught up in the lives of these likeable characters. During this outing, Elizabeth receives an unexpected letter, delivered under her door, and originating from someone from her younger days. This ‘blast from the past’ character is central to a plot that eventually develops into a case for the four amateur detectives to solve. So, at this stage in the story, I was hopeful that this second novel was going to be at least as good, if not better, than the first one. However, after another 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.
The writing here is undemanding, with short, bite-sized chapters, so regardless of my misgivings, I was still able to soldier on to (a) find out what happens in the end, and (b) enjoy the occasional funny quip or observation. However, hand on heart, the escapades of the main and supporting characters in this somewhat crazy plot did get farcical, and my patience was tested many times. There were all sorts of silly shenanigans going on involving a local drug dealer, £20 million in stolen diamonds, the head of an American/Mexican cartel, several cold-blooded murderers etc. Interspersed with the action were the romantic exploits of DCI Chris Hudson, who decides to have a fling with his assistant’s mother – those interactions were often cringeworthy, to say the least. Many of the sections relating to Chris Hudson had me rolling my eyes. One paragraph (I kid you not) is devoted to Chris’s views on peppers. Here’s a one-sentence quote from that same paragraph: ‘Chris had always fantasised about being the sort of man who might buy the red, yellow and green peppers.’ Makes me wonder how he ever made it to a DCI! Another irritation were the chapter headed: Joyce, which is where the reader gets to see what Joyce writes in her daily diary, this is ‘wittering on’ taken to a new, extreme level – you have been warned!
Overall, The Man Who Died Twice: (The Thursday Murder Club 2) was sadly very disappointing. One thing is for sure, this was £9.99 NOT WELL SPENT!