Book – The Bullet That Missed

Author – Richard Osman

Year – 2022

Pages – 413

Series – Thursday Murder Club

Book three of Richard Osman’s highly successful Thursday Murder Club series, and by this point you know exactly what you are getting. A ‘nice little murder’ (copyright Dora) that the gang have to try and solve whilst drinking red wine and homemade cake. Crime done cosy-style.

I am not a fan of spoiling plots in these reviews at the best of times, but with a murder mystery book it feels all the more sacrilegious. What I will put at the very least is that this one follows a more historical bent, with the murder of TV reporter Bethany Waites being investigated by the crew, and a new foray into the world of the small screen as a result.

This one takes a bit of a different turn to the last two, with a lot more focus on Elizabeth. The former spy who still is more than a formidable force, we learn a little more of her backstory, and get what amounts to almost an action sequence involving her this time. I think this is a good idea – in the first two books we get to know the sweet widow Joyce, the tough West Ham supporting union heavy with a heart Ron, and the intelligent yet somewhat frail Ibrahim relatively well, but I have always felt Elizabeth is more there to fill a gap rather than as her own character. I don’t know that this mystery goes the whole way to solving this problem, but it is nice to do this, and her story involving her husband Stephen is a nicely humanising element.

There are plusses and minuses to this one. I am very much enjoying how the books link back, with characters being added to the field and callbacks made whenever suitable. I really hope that this is something that Osman continues to do as the series progresses. On the more negative side, the final set piece is – quite frankly – ridiculous. Almost laugh out loud ridiculous at a couple of points. However, I can’t even knock it too much for this as throughout it is entirely entertaining.

I will try and be more discerning in judging this by giving it a seven, but it comes with the caveat that no matter the quality, this is still most very definitely a must read. Why? Because you will have it done in a day or two and will enjoy every single minute.

A final word for the fact that as I write this, Victoria Coren Mitchell is spoofing these books each week in her opening section of Only Connect, and I am very much here for that.