Richard Osman on his new novel, The Man Who Died Twice

Virgin Radio

17 Sep 2021, 10:24

Richard Osman at Virgin Radio

Richard Osman at Virgin Radio

The author and quiz show host joined the Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky to talk his new book, which is the sequel to his bestseller, The Thursday Murder Club.

The Man Who Died Twice was published yesterday and is already an Amazon number one hit, overtaking his first book in the charts. Regarding how well the new story has already been received, Richard told Chris, “People seem to like the second one even more, which is great. I mean, it might be because they know the characters. You know, if you do a TV show, people like the second series more. They say ‘Oh, you’ve really hit your stride’ and actually, they are just more familiar with it. So, people seem to prefer it, it’s got a great ending, the second one, I’ll tell you that, and obviously we know the characters more.

“So, The Thursday Murder Club will always be my first child, but I would hope it’s a slightly better book, because I hadn’t ever written a book before, and this time I had.”

The series is set in a fictional luxury retirement village off the A21 in Kent, and The Thursday Murder Club involves four retirees who meet every Thursday to solve cold cases. Discussing the difference between writing the first and second novels in the series, Richard told Chris: “The first one took a long time, because I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it, I was doing it in secret, and I kept giving up, because I didn’t have a deadline. And after the first one, of course, you do an edit, you do a next draft on it, and the notes were very interesting to me, about making things less complicated, or what you needed to have in there. So, the second one, which I had to do in a year, because that’s the publication schedule, all the way through I was thinking, ‘Which bits will they ask me to cut out?’, so I just cut those bits out myself. I was able to do that in a year. So it was very enjoyable, because I love the characters, and it was easier because I knew the mistakes I made the first time.”

Thinking back to writing his first book, the author said: “I thought it had to be much more complicated than it should be. The very first draft of The Thursday Murder Club, there’s about five more suspects, there’s a whole other subplot about the drugs trade on the south coast. You know, all lovely stuff. There’s a subplot about a brother of the murdered man living in the Philippines and coming back over. There’s a lot going on, all of which I can maybe salvage for another book, but you immediately think, actually, it just complicates things, and if you’ve got a great story, you want to get on with it, and if you’ve got great characters you don’t want to get in their way. And that’s what I tried to do in the second one, and in the third one as well, I’m immediately thinking, start really, really, really quickly, get the murder in really, really early.” 

The Thursday Murder Club has sold millions of copies across numerous countries. “I thought it was such a British book, I didn’t think it would sell anywhere [else], but, yeah, it’s been in the German best-seller list for, I think, 30 weeks. It’s number two in Japan, it’s number one in Brazil, it’s top ten in Portugal and Spain. I mean all over the place! It’s out in Russia this week,” Richard said.

The 50-year-old who, as well as being an author, hosts massively popular quiz shows Pointless and House of Games, added: “It’s nice that, around the world, people are reading it, because they don’t know who I am from telly, so they are just reading the book, they’re just enjoying the characters and the story. So I think, if you are doing well in Japan, then that’s not because of Pointless Celebrities, so I think I finally feel like a real author.”

The Thursday Murder Club is set to be made into a film by the production company led by Steven Spielberg. Even though Richard will be an executive producer, he told Chris he is taking a back seat at the moment. “They are supposedly filming the movie in spring next year, but you know the movie industry, I mean, who knows?” he said. “With that, I just leave them to it, there is no point in me thinking about it, because you never know.”

When Chris asked where the film will be set, Richard responded: “It’ll be in Britain. That is one thing that I think is pretty much certain. Listen, they might have American actors doing British accents in the same way that lots of our British actors make their money doing American accents, but yeah, I think they are aware that the Britishness of it is one of the charms of the piece.”

When Chris asked how many books there will eventually be in the series, Richard told him: “Definitely four, that’s guaranteed. I will definitely write more than four, I might write something different for the fifth book. I’ve got another idea for a detective.”

Regarding where he is at with the third novel in the series, Richard said: “I’m about 10,000 words in, which is roughly where I should be.” 

The Man Who Died Twice is out now. 

For more great interviews listen to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with Sky, weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.