It’s not every day that one receives an invitation from a dead man. When a blast from her mysterious past turns up asking for help, she has to hear him out. After twenty million pounds-worth of uncut diamonds went missing during an operation involving the middleman for various international crime syndicates, he’s being hunted, and needs Elizabeth to help keep him safe. But Elizabeth comes as a package now, and this will be a new level of dangerous for the keen but amateur septuagenarian detectives of Cooper’s Chase. As the body count rises, and one of their own is attacked, can the Thursday Murder Club find the killer before the killer finds them?
First things first – if you haven’t already, you need to read The Thursday Murder Club before reading this. The Man Who Died Twice begins about a week after the conclusion of The Thursday Murder Club, and there’s a lot of continuation from that, but especially important is the connection you make with the characters, especially Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron. Yes, I know they’re fictional, but they are so well written that I feel like I know them personally, and I can’t imagine having read this book without that sense of a bond.
At the end of The Thursday Murder Club, I had two main wishes – I wanted (needed) a sequel, and I wanted that sequel to explore Elizabeth’s secretive past. Happily, both my wishes were granted. Not only do we find out what Elizabeth did and who she worked for, we get to meet Douglas, a charming and dangerous old flame.
The main crime this time is the murders, diamond theft and Douglas’s attempts to evade the criminals, and this is dealt with as expertly as you’d expect. For me, though, the real core of the novel is the assault on one of the Club, and the sheer number of emotions brought up by it. It’s hard to talk about without spoilers (and I’m desperately trying not to use spoilers), but I spent half the novel just wanting to cwtch (a special Welsh cuddle) the victim, and shed more than a few tears with him/her. Joyce, with her attempts to join the world of Instagram, and Donna, whose boss and mother have got together in the most toe-curlingly way, provide some gentle comic relief.
The Man Who Died Twice is less of a ‘cosy’ mystery than The Thursday Murder Club was, which I suppose isn’t surprising given that this time we’re dealing with ‘proper’ criminals, but the warmth and sincerity is still there. For the next book – which has been confirmed – I have two more wishes. I want more Bogdan and Donna, please, but what I really want is a time machine, so I don’t have to wait as long this time
I received an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publication date – 16th September 2021