Richard Osman’s new Thursday Murder Club novel, plus the rest of this month’s best new crime fiction – The Irish Times
You’d never know this from reading detective stories, of course, but most bullets miss their target, which is probably why they make so many of them. Fortunately, Richard Osman’s goal is true with The bullet that missed (Penguin Viking, £22), his third offering in the Thursday Murder Club series.
Elizabeth, Ron, Joyce and Ibrahim are four pensioners who live in the quiet English coastal town of Fairhaven. , another a mob veteran, another a former British intelligence ghost, and so on. Here they investigate the death of Bethany Waites, a young journalist who disappeared – presumed murdered – 10 years prior while pursuing a report on large-scale VAT fraud.
This being the Thursday Murder Club, of course, it wasn’t long before they brought in a TV celebrity, a former KGB colonel, and a psychopathic Viking cryptocurrency bibliophile to get things going. TV presenter and comedian Osman made his debut with The Thursday Murder Club in 2020 and very quickly established himself as a best-seller with a deftly crafted mix of cozy crime, deadpan comedy and intriguing characters. If you can imagine a set of investigators who are two parts Famous Five to one part Miss Marple in a story steeped in the acidic spirit of Mick Herron, you won’t be far wrong. Extremely entertaining, dryly funny, and quietly brilliant in its plot, The Bullet That Missed is one of the year’s most enjoyable crime novels.
Best known as a science fiction author, AG Riddle is in great genre-mixing form with lost in time (Head of Zeus, £16.99), which opens in the near future when “one of the scientists whose invention nearly eradicated crime is arrested for the murder of another scientist who also helped to eradicate crime”. Dr. Samuel Anderson declares himself innocent of the murder of his partner – professional and personal – Dr. Nora Thomas, but the punishment is valid: according to the time machine that Sam helped create, he is returned 201 million years in the Upper Triassic, there to survive as best he can. Meanwhile, in the near future, Sam’s daughter, Adeline, tries her best to prove her father’s innocence, which if successful, could very easily result in Adeline impersonating the killer. . Drawing heavily on science fiction pioneers such as HG Wells and Arthur Conan Doyle, AG Riddle concocts a mind-bending plot that may or may not make sense (if you’re knowledgeable enough about quantum entanglement and the paradox of Fermi, which your correspondent is not, you might spot a plot hole or two). If, on the other hand, you’re the kind of reader who’s happy to play along when an author throws out “a Hail Mary of quantum physics,” Lost in Time is great fun and a breath of fresh air. .
disorientation (Picador, £13.99), the debut album by Taiwanese-American author Elaine Hsieh Chou, is narrated by Ingrid Yang, a Taiwanese-American graduate student at Barnes University in Wittleburg, Massachusetts. Eight years after beginning her thesis on the revered Chinese-American poet Xiao-Wen Chou, Ingrid discovers a shocking truth: Xiao-Wen Chou is not dead, as everyone believes; worse, he is a white man who has spent his entire adult life “yellow-faced,” deceiving literary America with his poems about the Chinese-American immigrant experience. And that’s how Ingrid becomes a literary detective, determined to reveal the truth about Xiao-Wen Chou, even if… the horror! – it could sabotage his chances of tenure. Every good fictional detective, of course, explores culture as they investigate a particular crime, and Elaine Chou is superb at blurring casual racism, cultural colonization, and the pretensions of nerd literary scholarship (” Concatenation of protohybridity”, notes Ingrid trying to develop an original idea for her thesis: “Hypertextual palimpsest. Cultural strangeness, cultural wandering, cultural diffusion. Analyzing a DIY of a disintegrated self.” Aloud, Disorientation is a satire that’s deadly serious about exploding “the good little immigrant mythos.”
“I write books about how to write books,” says Ernie Cunningham, Benjamin Stevenson’s narrator Everyone in my family has killed someone (Michael Joseph, £17.99), a skill that comes in handy when Ernie decides to record the events of a Cunningham family reunion at a remote, snowy hotel in Australia’s ski belt, which gets the film off to a bad start. first morning when it is discovered that someone apparently burned to death in the middle of a snowdrift. It’s no surprise to learn, once he delves into the cases, that Ernie writes books on how to write mystery novels, and especially those that adhere to these “Commandments.” designed by Ronald Knox for Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers, GK Chesterton and all other authors writing during the Golden Age of Mystery. Indeed, Ernie swears to be scrupulously honest with the reader, telling us upfront (and providing relevant page numbers) of all the murders that will take place during his story, and also promising that there will be no has “only one plot where you could drive a truck”. Comedian in his native Australia, Benjamin Stevenson once won the Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut (Greenlight); if you like to do meta-narrative genre mischief, Any the world in my family killed someone will probably be your favorite book of the year.
The Indemnity and Forgetfulness Act was passed in 1660 to pardon crimes committed during the English Civil War, although there were some exceptions to the pardon, including the regicides responsible for the execution of King Charles I.Robert Harris. act of forgetting (Hutchinson, £22) focuses on two of the regicides, Colonel Edward Whalley and his son-in-law Colonel William Goffe, who flee capture and execution by fleeing across the Atlantic to America, where they believe their beliefs Puritans and their loyal service to Oliver Cromwell, will ensure their protection in the recently established colonies. They were, however, without Richard Nayler, “a most useful shadow” whose innocuous title of Clerk of the Privy Council belies his true vocation of “vengeful fury”. Harris inserts the fictional character of Nayler into what is otherwise a novel based on historical fact, an Iago-like plotter who provides a fascinating counterpoint to the character of Whalley, who despite his Puritan principles plays fast and loose with the fifth commandment. The result is an utterly satisfying revenge thriller, and one firmly set in the chaotic worlds of post-Civil War England and the embryonic American colonies, with both sides justifying their brutality by espousing “the just and avenging justice of the Lord.” .
Declan Burke is an author and journalist. His latest novel is The Lammisters, published by No Alibis Press