Books

Richard Osman: ‘The Bullet That Missed isn’t the end for the Thursday Murder Club’

The third book in Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series comes out this week. He tells us there are still many adventures ahead

Richard Osman, author of The Bullet That Missed

Richard Osman says The Bullet That Missed is not the end for the Thursday Murder Club. Photo: Conor O’Leary

As the third instalment in the best-selling Thursday Murder Club series hits UK shelves, author Richard Osman has promised The Bullet That Missed is not the last we’ll see of his popular septuagenarian crime fighters.

“They’re not going anywhere, anytime soon,” he said in an exclusive interview with The Big Issue. “I mean, I love these characters. I love the world they’re in. And I love the reaction to them. So I’m going to do [book] four, then maybe do something else for a year, but they will definitely be coming back. They’re not going anywhere, anytime soon. So for anyone who loves the Thursday Murder Club, they’ll be sticking around for some time.”

The Thursday Murder Club came out in 2020 and was an instant smash. It captured readers with its compelling mystery, humour, and pacey storytelling and has since sold more than a million copies.

The book follows four unlikely sleuths in their 70s: retired nurse Joyce, former spy Elizabeth, trade unionist Ron, and Ibrahim, a retired university professor.

“You wouldn’t want to mess with any of them,” said Osman. “But they’ve all come from a place of kindness and empathy.”

The following year Joyce and the crew were back in another best seller, The Man Who Died Twice. Osman said he was very glad to put a demographic that is too often invisible at the heart of his books.

“It’s important to put people over 70 at the heart of our culture, because they’re not at the heart of our culture. Everyone’s obsessed with young people, which I get because they’re the ones who you can persuade to buy things,” he said. “But in terms of being a detective, being invisible but wise is the perfect combination.”

The much anticipated third book in the series is released on Thursday. The Bullet That Missed has already overtaken Barack Obama’s memoir A Promised Land to become Penguin Random House’s most pre-ordered audiobook ever.

“I’m really, really proud of the books,” said Osman. “I would read them. And so given I’m proud of it, I will sing it from the rooftops. I’ll go door to door selling them, you know, because I like them and it delights me that other people seem to like them too.”

Earlier this year, Osman revealed that he had quit the much-loved teatime quiz Pointless to concentrate on his writing. “I just don’t have time to do it because of the books and you do have to move on in life sometimes. But it’s an immense privilege to have done that show for 12 years,” he said.

A long-time devotee of “big crime books”, Osman said he plans to always stay within that genre.

“I think it’ll always be crime. I’ve always been deep in the world of crime,” he said. “And much as I’d like to write something gritty and serial killer-y, I think there’s always going to be some humour at the heart of it.

“I’m hoping I’m going to be writing for the next 30 years, so hopefully there’s lots of fun things ahead.”

Read the full interview with Richard Osman in The Big Issue magazine soon.

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