reviewed by Gail Byrd
Is The Man Who Died Twice wildly improbable? Absolutely! But it is even more wildly entertaining. From the opening sentence in Part One you are whisked into the world of a group of seniors with all their one-liners, “beat of their own drum” responses, and unpredictability.
This is the second book featuring this unique group of intelligent, geriatric, men and women who each bring a special skill and sense of adventure to their lives and the lives of those around them. As a reader the best thing you can do is sit back, relax, and get ready for one of the most entertaining reads you are likely to encounter.
Richard Osman has once again created a mystery adventure that swirls around the lives of a group of friends living in a retirement home. This isn’t just an ordinary group, however. They each have unique skills and responses to situations that make them the ideal group to tackle mysteries and deal with situations created by a wide assortment of people, most of whom are criminally inclined. This book easily stands alone, but it is a follow-up to The Thursday Murder Club and if you prefer to read books in series, you may want to start your reading there. Whatever your approach, it won’t come as a surprise if, after reading one, you rush out to get the other.
The book begins with Ibrahim, one of the group, choosing to be bold and take himself out for the day. Although the trip is initially successful, it is ruined in the end when he is mugged. Bringing about retribution for harming their friend becomes one of the group’s primary focuses. You just don’t mess with these people, or, for that matter, with one of their friends. While Ibrahim’s mugging and the group’s efforts at payback are not the main focus of this novel, they are an integral part of it.
The main plot of the book has Elizabeth, the group’s retired MI6 operative, being asked for help from Douglas, her ex-husband. It seems he has been placed in protective custody because he is suspected of having stolen some diamonds that were the property of the mafia. Needless to say, they want them back, as does the man who was entrusted with them as a down payment. While Douglas tells Elizabeth he is blameless, she is way too smart to believe him and, of course, she is proved right. Unfortunately, she learns the truth about the same time he is murdered, along with Poppy, the agent who was assigned to protect him. Now Elizabeth is on the case to solve the murders, recover the diamonds, and perhaps vindicate Poppy’s death. At least, that’s what she thinks at first.
Elizabeth and her group of savvy seniors set about to determine who stole the diamonds and who murdered Poppy and the ex. As long as they are stirring themselves to action, they decide they need to bring about justice for Ibrahim as well, and although their first attempt is a failure, they find a way to wrap everything together and bring about justice for everyone involved. That is, until there is a twist, and Elizabeth realizes she’s made one rather major mistake. Does her realization come too late? How is she going to get out of this situation with herself as well as her friends in their respective single pieces? You’ll have to read the book to find out.
This is one of the most entertaining books I have read this year and is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good mystery and more than a few laughs.
My thanks to Penguin Book Viking, Pamela Dorman Books Publishing, and NetGalley for an advance copy for review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.