The Last Devil to Die (The Thursday murder club mystery #4) by Richard Osman
One of the first words that comes to mind when I read this series is ‘compassion’. Richard Osman shows enormous compassion towards his characters, and his characters show it toward each other – even the hardened criminals.
Our favourite retirement-village sleuths find themselves personally invested in finding out who murdered their dear friend Kuldesh Sharma, and why. Did he accidentally cross the wrong people; heroin dealers to be precise? Joyce, Ron, Ibrahim and Elizabeth are recovering from the festive season when they hear the terrible news. The ever-reliable Bogdan is on hand to provide assistance where needed and play chess with Elizabeth’s husband, Stephen.
Osman alternates his chapters between different character’s perspectives (in the third person) and Joyce’s diary entries (in the first). This works incredibly well, and is never confusing, which just goes to show how talented a writer he is.
Elizabeth is distracted from the investigation, the others can see she doesn’t have her heart in it. And they have also noticed Stephen isn’t out and about much lately. It’s not a plot spoiler to say that his alzheimer’s has gotten worse since the previous book, and Elizabeth is faced with making some heartbreaking decisions.
Elizabeth can fool herself no more, can keep Stephen to herself no longer. The day she knew must arrive is here. She has been losing him a paragraph at a time, but the chapter is done. And the book is close to its end.
Although there is much sadness in this latest instalment, there is also much to make the reader smile. Osman has a quick wit, as do his characters, and there are many laugh out loud moments to enjoy.
In his Acknowledgements, Osman writes that he will make us wait a little for the next instalment of the Thursday Murder Club, as he writes a new book. I hope it’s as good as these, because I have to say this series is outstanding.