... once you read Osman’s funny, warm-hearted novels, it is hard not to be charmed by the eccentricities and the resourcefulness of his creations ... humour is gently threaded through every element of The Bullet That Missed. Writing genuinely funny prose is not at all easy; it is rare that I find a book that has me actually laughing out loud, but I snickered so much reading this one that it was remarked upon by my family ... It is not all laughs – Osman doesn’t milk it for pathos, but Elizabeth’s battle with Stephen’s developing dementia is heart-wrenching ... if you pick up The Bullet That Missed expecting a dark crime novel, gruesome deaths and buckets of jeopardy, you will be disappointed. But you would also be a bit silly, because that’s not what these books set out to be. Their impetus doesn’t come from solving the crime or escaping from danger – it comes from enjoying the Thursday Murder Club (and especially Joyce, who is obviously the best of them) deal with everything that’s thrown in their path with panache and aplomb, be it cryptocurrencies or hitmen.
There aren’t many authors (celebrity or non) who write with such assurance and such guaranteed entertainment, combining slices of real life alongside a fantasy world where oldies solve crimes ... as intriguing, joyous and charming as the rest of the series ... Osman doesn’t only know about his own life – he has a remarkable ability to get inside the heads of all his characters, and give wholly convincing streams of consciousness. How does he know about the concerns of young women, elderly Mums, and career criminals? ... There are moments where he takes in the reality of loneliness and bereavement, and there is an underlying sweetness, and slight naivety, about the belief that what everyone needs (including career mega-criminals) is just some friends and fun and someone to listen to you. There are funny descriptions ... The plot is good, full of surprises and interest and cryptocurrency, but honestly – read it for the fun, the characters and the conversation ... We can only hope that we will all end up at Coopers Chase in our old age, and that there are a lot more books to come.
Osman concocts a satisfyingly complex whodunit full of neat twists and wrong turns. But unlike most crime novelists, he ensures his book’s strength and momentum stem not from its plot or its thrills but rather its perfectly formed characters. Once again, the quartet of friends makes for delightful company ... If there is fault to be found it is a recurring one throughout the series – namely that Osman’s two men have less to do than his two women, and as a result feel like extras around the main double-act. But what a double-act ... What could have been twee and uninvolving is in fact heartwarming and enthralling. 'They carried a kind of magic, the four of them,' a policeman muses. That magic is still there in abundance.