The Last Devil to Die: A Thursday Murder Club Mystery

Image of The Last Devil to Die: A Thursday Murder Club Mystery
Release Date: 
September 19, 2023
Pamela Dorman Books
Reviewed by: 

“The worst part about finishing A Thursday Murder Club Mystery is waiting for the next one to be published.”

Number four in Richard Osman’s A Thursday Murder Cub Mystery series, The Last Devil to Die brings us together again with club members Elizabeth, Ibrahim, Joyce, and Ron as they take on the murder investigation of their good friend, Kuldesh Sharma.

The story opens with a bang—literally—when Kuldesh is murdered in his car at night in a dark park. The club cannot let this act go unpunished and as they begin their search for the culprit, the reader is re-introduced to characters from pervious stories, such as Connie, the jailed criminal, and new character, Computer Bob, the tech wizard.

But as the investigation moves forward, it is discovered that Kuldesh’s murder is the result of a box of heroin being lost, and the drug dealers are not happy. So the search for the box of heroin begins with both sides moving forward: the club members and the drug dealers beginning with Kuldesh’s antique store and the dark park where he was murdered.

Osman throws more fuel onto the fire when he introduces a new side story as Elizabeth plays less of a role in directing the club, and a stronger role dealing with her husband, Stephen’s, onset of dementia and his approach to the end of life. Now, Stephen is a character the reader has lived with through all three previous books, and as all readers and writers know, killing off a character is not an easy task to either do or watch.

But as if this side trip is not enough Osman brings another angle into the story. It is learned that Mervyn, a new neighbor of the club members, is being defrauded by a fake romance with a woman he does not know other that through texts. The woman keeps asking for money, and when the club members learn of this, they know Mervyn is being taken for a very expensive ride, and with Computer Bob’s help, they work to reverse the trend.

So how do these side trips fold into the investigation of Kuldesh’s murder and the box of heroin? All is made clear when Osman ties up every loose end at the end of the story.

At the same time, the reader gets the impression that the new character of Computer Bob will begin to play more of a role in any forthcoming stories—something to look forward to.

Art forgers Samantha Barnes and her husband, Garth, are approached by the club regarding the box holding the heroin, and the couple realizes there is a great deal of money in heroin. Drug dealers Dominic Holt, Mitch Maxwell and Luca Buttaci fear for their lives if the heroin is not found . . . and quickly.

And new character Nina Mishra, an academic who gets drawn into the search for the box of heroin, finds herself mired in threats if she doesn’t turn over the box—the box that she does not have and knows nothing about.

In the meantime, Ibrahim, the club psychologist, is asking his patient, jailed thief Connie, about her connections with drug dealers. He explains about the Kuldesh murder, and Connie, smart criminal that she is, recognizes an opportunity when it presents itself. She may be in prison, but that does not prevent her from continuing business as usual!

In the meantime, local police detectives, Chris and Donna, who are investigating the Kuldesh murder from another approach, find themselves ousted from their job by Jill Regan, Senior Investigating Officer of the National Crime Agency. They are reassigned to investigate a horse theft. Not ones to be shafted in such a manner, they soon join forces with the Thursday Murder Club without Jill’s knowledge. Here Osman creates a maze of paths that crisscross, bump into each other, totally miss each other, and all move toward a final resolution.

The club can count the number of murder suspects that have joined the search—Garth, Samantha, Dominic, Mitch, Luca, just to cover the fingers on one hand! But that suspect list changes with death joining the crowded melée. In addition to Kuldesh, the club sees Samantha, Luca, and Dominic each meet a violent end. The club can erase three suspects from their list.

Chris considers the deaths saying, “Kuldesh, Dom Holt, Luca thrown off the car park. Samantha Barnes pushed downstairs. Someone killed them all. And all for that little bag of heroin. Ridiculous.”

Then Stephen commits suicide with Elizabeth’s help (although known to the club members, their silence is deafening). Stephen’s participation in the murders is never considered viable, and yet there is something nagging at Elizabeth that tells her although he’s gone, Stephen is still part of the investigation.

It should be noted for a moment here that Osman’s description of Elizabeth’s feelings about losing Stephen are very poignant and somewhat unexpected of Osman’s writing. “So Stephen’s pain is over. He is no longer trapped in the static of his mind. Tormented by stabs of clarity, like a drowning man surfacing above the waves before being engulfed again. There will be no further decline. From here on the decline will be all hers. The pain all hers. She is glad of it, deserves to endure it. It fees like penance.” And with that, the reader says a final goodbye to one of the characters.

Osman begins to tie up all the loose ends, even the ends the reader does not know are loose, and in doing so, the Thursday Murder Club members arrive at the correct resolution. They satisfy themselves regarding Kuldesh’s death, and Elizabeth learns that death does not always close its doors to finality.

We all like to enjoy a surprise ending, but to say that Osman provided one would be a major understatement. Sit back and enjoy being surprised.

The worst part about finishing A Thursday Murder Club Mystery is waiting for the next one to be published.