Richard Osman to embark on new series of crime novels

By Rebecca Jones
Arts correspondent, BBC News

  • Published
Richard OsmanImage source, PA Media

Richard Osman has revealed he plans to take a break from writing his successful Thursday Murder Club novels to embark on a new crime series.

The TV star, who recently announced his departure from Pointless, enjoyed huge success with his debut novel.

Osman told BBC News his new book series will be "a sort of Thursday Murder Club meets The Da Vinci Code".

The author said he will publish the first of the new series after the fourth Thursday Murder Club novel.

The first book in the murder club series, which is about four elderly amateur detectives who live in a retirement village, was published in 2020.

The story broke sales records and soared to the pinnacle of the best-sellers' list in the UK.

It has also proved a hit in the other countries where it's been released, spawned a successful sequel, and Steven Spielberg snapped up the movie rights.

A third murder club mystery, The Bullet that Missed, which Osman says is about the "the sad, sudden death of a news presenter", will be published in September.

Osman, 51, is already writing the fourth book, but after that, he says he's "starting a new series", which was inspired by a recent visit to a bookshop.

"I thought, I'd love a quite funny, quite smart, Da Vinci Code," he explained, referring to Dan Brown's best-selling puzzle-filled thriller.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was hugely successful in the mid-noughties

"I'd love one of those books that's a caper around the world, but that also has some truth about the world, and also makes you laugh and has also has some of the aesthetic of Thursday Murder Club, but it's Da Vinci Code. And I couldn't quite find one.

"So I thought I'd quite like to do that - a sort of Thursday Murder Club meets The Da Vinci Code."

Although it sold 84 million copies in print worldwide, The Da Vinci Code received mixed reviews when it was published in 2003 with Mark Lawson in the Guardian describing it as "irritatingly gripping tosh".

But Osman is a huge fan. "Whatever people say about The Da Vinci Code, I devoured it and loved it. And when people say 'oh it's so badly written' you think, so many people have tried to write that book, he [Dan Brown] wrote it better than anybody else.

"I love what that book did, which is to take you around the world." Brown's book roamed across France, England and Scotland.

Osman stresses, however, he has little interest in travelling the globe to research his new series.

"I'm quite a reluctant traveller," he reveals. "I'm not in love with going around the world and seeing the Pyramids. I'm a bit happier staying at home and watching the snooker.

"And I thought, that's quite a fun detective, a reluctant traveller, having to go around the world and saying 'oh god, really? I've got to get on a private jet and fly to the Cayman Islands?' - but just thinking 'I've got the local pub quiz on Tuesday.' And that felt to me like an interesting world to explore, so I'm going to explore it."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Osman, pictured with partner Ingrid Oliver at the TV Baftas in May, has enjoyed huge success with The Thursday Murder Club

A new series from Osman involving different characters could help showcase his range and placate some of the critics who were less keen on his Thursday Murder Club books.

"What is clear after reading both novels is that Osman is a very much a one-trick pony, whose trademark is subverting expectations about the elderly in a series of attention-grabbing asides," wrote Joan Smith in the Times last year.

Fans of the Thursday Murder Club need not worry though. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron aren't going anywhere.

"There will be loads and loads more," promises Osman. "I love the four of them as a gang and I love the balance between them.

"You've got two working class characters, two middle class characters, two very strong women, two slightly more brittle men. And I love the things I can talk about Britain, through those four characters.

"The joy of writing this, is dark things happen in these books, but you can always talk about daytime TV and cakes. The minutiae of people's lives, which is actually what we spend most of the time on, is very present in these books."

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