Book review: The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman

Thursday, September 15, 2022 Permalink

The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman is the latest in the very popular ‘Thursday Murder Club’ series, featuring the elderly residents of Coopers Chase. It’s tremendously good fun. Mostly cosy crime with a few mobsters and murders thrown in. This latest is probably a little more far-fetched than its predecessors, but the series is pure escapism so I try not to think too much about the feasibility of 70 or 80-somethings gadding about after armed and well-connected criminals.

Book review: The Bullet that Missed by Richard OsmanThe Bullet That Missed
by Richard Osman
Published by Viking
on 15/09/2022
Source: Penguin Random House Australia
Genres: Crime Fiction
ISBN: 0241512433
Pages: 432

It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal.

Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club is concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then, a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill . . . or be killed.

As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

Osman is slowly but surely building the cast list here. He’ll need to be careful unless he writes some out of the series as I know many (including me sometimes) that get confused with too many players. Here we’re introduced to a former KGB agent, a money-laundering hostage taker, a TV host and his makeup artist. As well as another police officer, and we again revisit one of the criminals from The Man Who Died Twice.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve not read the predecessors but they do give you more context and Osman has spent significant time in past books, building the backstories and personalities of our regulars (Joyce, Elizabeth, Ron and Ibrahim).

Joyce is again our main narrator though parts of the book also unfold in third person from other points of view. There’s nothing like Joyce’s diary entries though to offer up that random stream-of-consciousness thinking and seemingly ditsy manner.

I am Googling Heather Garbutt and listening to the World Service. She is difficult to Google, because there is also an Australian hockey player called Heather Garbutt, and most of the results are about her. I actually ended up quite interested in the hockey player, and I follow her on Instagram now. She has three very beautiful children.

Heather Garbutt is still in prison (not the hockey player, but you know that). p 31

As usual she and her friends are in fine form and there are laugh-out-loud moments buried amongst the more serious as Osman touches deftly on issues such as ageing, family and relationships.

We’re again offered two cases for the price of one and though they’re not related, the two become enmeshed nonetheless. Osman’s writing and characterisation is again incredibly engaging and readers feel as if we’re sitting with his cast, bathing in their witty banter and enthusiasm.

As mentioned, this is probably a bit more sensationalist than previous books – with our golden gang in perilous positions but escaping unscathed due to luck, or the ineptitude of our villains. But it’s certainly good fun and another wonderful instalment in this series.

I should mention again, that the font in the paperback version I have is quite large, so good for tired, ageing or poor-thanks-to-dodgy-genes eyes.

The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman was published in Australia by Penguin Random House and is now available.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.


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