Richard Osman’s sequel to The Thursday Murder Club, The Man Who Died Twice, has become one of the fastest-selling novels since records began.
Published on September 16, The Man Who Died Twice follows the adventures of Osman’s gang of older sleuths, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron. It sold 114,202 copies in the first three days for sale last week (including pre-orders), according to Nielsen BookScan-a performance whose sales monitor said it’s one of the fastest-selling novels since it began selling in the late following years ’90.
Since then, only four hardback adult novels have sold more in their first week on shelves: Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol (550,946 sold in the first week) and Inferno (228,961), JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy (124,603), and late Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman (168,455).
Last week, Sally Rooney’s third novel Beautiful World, Where Are You topped the UK charts with sales of 46,065 copies. This week, Rooney’s novel is at number 4 on the general charts, with 19,782 copies sold. Bob Mortimer’s And Away … sits behind Osman in second place, with 42,094 copies sold.
Osman also topped the paperback charts last week with The Thursday Murder Club, which sold 23,966 copies last week. The last time an author scored a double fiction card number 1 was in March 2017, when James Patterson’s 16th seduction topped the hardback fiction card and Never Never topped the paperbacks list. . The Thursday Murder Club has sold more than one million copies since it was published in September last year, and has spent 45 weeks at the top of the fiction bestseller lists.
Osman said he was “so very happy” about the sale. “This is beyond our wildest predictions. My love and thanks to all the readers, all the great booksellers and to Joyce, Elizabeth, Ibrahim and Ron,” said the author and Pointless co-host.
“It’s wonderful to see how many people have fallen in love with Richard’s fabulous Thursday Murder Club and just could not wait to read the next part,” said its publisher Joanna Prior, director of Penguin General. “The reaction to these characters and the crimes they solve from readers all over the world was extraordinary and it was a joy to work with retailers to make publication week such a great moment for everyone to participate.”
The Man Who Died Twice opens as the four members of the Thursday Murder Club consider “the cold case of a Hastings newspaper that killed a burglar with a crossbow”. However, Elizabeth is distracted: she has received a letter from an old acquaintance who needs her help, and she and her friends soon find the bodies up. Looking at it in the Guardian, Lynne Truss found that “a sense of danger is completely absent”, but added that “if you are happy to let go of other pens about guilt and misery, you can relax and enjoy this novel. , which is superbly entertaining ”.
Philip Stone of Nielsen Book Research said Osman was a “publishing phenomenon”. “In recent memory, we’ve seen very successful titles inspire long-term trends in crime fiction – the success of Stieg Larsson leads to an impetus for Nordic noir, Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train that stimulate the market for psychological thrillers. “said Stone. “It will be interesting to see if Osman’s success leads to an abundance of sociable crime paper publishing.”
At Waterstones, Rooney’s Beautiful World was still at the top of the charts, closely followed by The Man Who Died Twice. But buyer Bea Carvalho predicted that Osman’s second novel would soon overtake Rooney. “It’s pretty good that two mega autumn bestsellers have already arrived and are better than expected – it’s a great start to the autumn,” she said.
For Carvalho, Osman’s appeal in his novels is “to strike that balance between smart and accessible so brilliantly”.
“He has such a strong appeal to real fans of the genre, but also to people who might just buy one book a year,” she said. “Of course his profile really helps to hook in the new readers, but then the fact that it was so good, and telling such a clever, sharp piece in its own right, means that it actually became a bit of a mouth-watering .It could easily have been a bit of a celeb book that did exactly what it did in week one, but the quality speaks for itself and it went through and has just been absolutely massive.