The Bullet that Missed by Richard Osman

How I love these books. I had this one as an audio book and so did more on the quilt I am making and listened along. A good book and a quilt makes me very happy.

We have the usual caste of characters, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, Bogdan and Ibrahim with extras from Stephen, Elizabeth’s husband, Paulene – Ron’s new partner and Joan and Chris in the Police, set once again in the retirement village of Cooper’s Chase. They are still reviewing their cold-case murders at their Thursday Murder Club and this time are looking into the case of Bethany Waites, a former TV journalist who was just about to crack a vast VAT fraud case but was killed before she could tell anyone about it.

The stories really play on the fact that nobody believes 70+ year olds can be dangerous or still have their ‘little grey cells’ working and so of course, they manage to get themselves into all sorts of situations to question people. And along the way pick up help from the Viking, who threatens to kill Joyce, Viktor Illyich, an ex-KGB agent, and several people from the TV company where Bethany used to work. I think the use of Stephen with dementia and what he does remember is a wonderful idea showing us that even those who might forget whether they have eaten, still have something to contribute.

For me, it’s the warmth of friendships and the use of their talents which really appeals as does the humour. The humour uses a lot of cultural references such as Grazia, TV quizes and ways of dressing for the elements that make me laugh out loud or snort into my quilt. It is all quietly done but has the capacity to make me smile as I listen. In this book Viktor and one other character realise that their life is lonely and that they too would like to live in the village. Sadly, it doesn’t become possible for one of them but murder aside, wouldn’t we all like friends like this. I’m guessing that some of the new characters in the book might be present in the next one. Viktor?

The one friendship I really do respect is Stephen who has some form of dementia and Bogdan the clean-up guy who can always be called upon to come and rescue the friends. Together, they play chess and Bogdan looks after him on days that Elizabeth goes out sleuthing. He treats him with respect and honesty but in this book, Stephen forgets that ke knows how to play chess. Underneath it all it is heartbreaking, yet he provides a major clue for the group to move forward with solving the murder.

I like the way that we hear the story from several points of view with Joyce being one of the main narrators. Listening to Richard Osman talk at the end of the book, it is clear that he writes without an overall plan but knows whose voice will be telling the next few chapters.

People can be a bit sniffy about cozy crime but this is the best of the best and so enjoyable.

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