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Extract: The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman

Loved The Thursday Murder Club? Raced through The Man Who Died Twice? Then have we got good news for you – because the third book in Richard Osman’s phenomenal series, The Bullet That Missed, is heading our way this September, and we’ve got an exclusive sneak peek just for you!

It is an ordinary Thursday and things should finally be returning to normal. Except trouble is never far away where the Thursday Murder Club is concerned. A decade-old cold case leads them to a local news legend and a murder with no body and no answers.

Then, a new foe pays Elizabeth a visit. Her mission? Kill… or be killed.

As the cold case turns white hot, Elizabeth wrestles with her conscience (and a gun), while Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim chase down clues with help from old friends and new. But can the gang solve the mystery and save Elizabeth before the murderer strikes again?

Read on for the first few chapters of The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman!

The Bullet That Missed
by
Richard Osman

PART ONE
Around Every Corner,
A Familiar Face

1

‘I don’t need make-up,’ says Ron. He’s in a straight-backed chair because Ibrahim told him you mustn’t slouch on television.
        ‘Do you not?’ replies his make-up artist, Pauline Jenkins, taking brushes and pallets from her bag. She has set up a mirror on a table in the Jigsaw Room. It is framed by lightbulbs, and the glow bounces off her cerise earrings as they bob back and forth.
        Ron feels the adrenalin pumping a little. This is the stuff. A bit of TV. Where are the others though? He told them they could come along ‘if they fancied, no big deal’, and he will be gutted if they don’t show.
        ‘They can take me as they find me,’ says Ron. ‘I’ve earned this face, it tells a story.’
        ‘Horror story, if you don’t mind me saying?’ says Pauline, looking at a colour palette, and then at Ron’s face. She blows him a kiss.
        ‘Not everyone has to be beautiful,’ says Ron. His friends know the interview starts at four. They’ll be here soon surely?
        ‘We’re agreed there, darling,’ says Pauline. ‘I’m not a miracle worker. I remember you back in the day though. Handsome bugger, weren’t you, if you like that sort of thing?’
        Ron grunts.
        ‘And I do like that sort of thing if I’m honest with you, right up my street. Always fighting for the working man, weren’t you, throwing your weight around?’ Pauline opens a compact. ‘You still believe in all that, do you? Up the workers?’
        Ron’s shoulders go back a touch, like a bull preparing to enter a ring. ‘Still believe in it? Still believe in equality? Still believe in the power of labour? What’s your name?’
        ‘Pauline,’ says Pauline.
        ‘Still believe in the dignity of a day’s work for a fair day’s pay, Pauline? More than ever.’
        Pauline nods. ‘Good oh. Then shut your mush for five minutes and let me do the job I’m paid to do, which is to remind the viewers of South East Tonight what a looker you are.’
        Ron’s mouth opens, but, unusually for him, no words come out. Pauline starts on his foundation without further ado. ‘Dignity, my arse. Haven’t you got gorgeous eyes? Like Che Guevara if he worked on the docks.’
        In his mirror, Ron sees the door to the Jigsaw Room open. Joyce walks in. He knew she wouldn’t let him down. Not least because she knows Mike Waghorn will be here. This whole thing was her idea, truth be told. She chose the file.
        Ron notices that Joyce is wearing a new cardigan. She just can’t help herself.
        ‘You told us you weren’t going to have make-up, Ron,’ says Joyce.
        ‘They make you,’ says Ron. ‘This is Pauline.’
        ‘Hello, Pauline,’ says Joyce. ‘You’ve got your work cut out there.’
        ‘I’ve seen worse,’ says Pauline. ‘I used to work on Casualty.’
        The door opens once again. A camera operator walks in, followed by a sound man, followed by a flash of white hair, the quiet swoosh of an expensive suit and the perfect, masculine yet subtle scent of Mike Waghorn. Ron sees Joyce blush. He would roll his eyes if he wasn’t having his concealer applied.
        ‘Well, here we all are, then,’ says Mike, his smile as white as his hair. ‘The name’s Mike Waghorn. The one, the only, accept no substitutes.’
        ‘Ron Ritchie,’ says Ron.
        ‘The same, the very same,’ says Mike, grasping Ron’s hand. ‘Haven’t changed a bit, have you? This is like being on safari and seeing a lion up close, Mr Ritchie. He’s a lion of a man, isn’t he, Pauline?’
        ‘He’s certainly something or other,’ agrees Pauline, powdering Ron’s cheeks.
        Ron sees Mike turn his head slowly towards Joyce, slipping off her new cardigan with his eyes. ‘And who, might I ask, are you?’
        ‘I’m Joyce Meadowcroft.’ She practically curtsies.
        ‘I should say you are,’ says Mike. ‘You and the magnificent Mr Ritchie a couple, then, Joyce?’
        ‘Oh, God, no, my goodness, the thought, no, heavens no. No.’ says Joyce. ‘We’re friends. No offence, Ron.’
        ‘Friends indeed,’ says Mike. ‘Lucky Ron.’
        ‘Stop flirting, Mike,’ says Pauline. ‘No one’s interested.’
        ‘Oh, Joyce’ll be interested,’ says Ron.
        ‘I am,’ says Joyce. To herself, but just loud enough to carry.
        The door opens once again, and Ibrahim pokes his head around. Good lad! Only Elizabeth missing now. ‘Am I too late?’
        ‘You’re just in time,’ says Joyce.
        The sound man is attaching a microphone to Ron’s lapel. Ron is wearing a jacket over his West Ham shirt, at Joyce’s insistence. It is unnecessary, in his opinion. Sacrilegious, if anything. Ibrahim takes a seat next to Joyce and looks at Mike Waghorn.
        ‘You are very handsome, Mr Waghorn. Classically handsome.’
        ‘Thank you,’ says Mike, nodding in agreement. ‘I play squash, I moisturize, and nature takes care of the rest.’
        ‘And about a grand a week in make-up,’ says Pauline, putting the finishing touches to Ron.
        ‘I am handsome too, it is often remarked upon,’ says Ibrahim. ‘I think perhaps, had my life taken a different turn, I might have been a newsreader too.’
        ‘I’m not a newsreader,’ says Mike. ‘I’m a journalist who happens to read the news.’
        Ibrahim nods. ‘A fine mind. And a nose for a story.’
        ‘Well, that’s why I’m here,’ says Mike. ‘As soon as I read the email, I sniffed a story. A new way of living, retirement communities, and the famous face of Ron Ritchie at the heart of it. I thought, “Yup, viewers will love a bit of that.” ’
        It’s been quiet for a few weeks, but Ron is delighted that the gang are back in action. The whole interview is a ruse. Designed by Joyce to lure Mike Waghorn to Coopers Chase. To see if he could help them with the case. Joyce sent an email to one of the producers. Even so, it still means that Ron is going to be on TV again, and he is very happy about that.
        ‘Will you come to dinner afterwards, Mr Waghorn?’ asks Joyce. ‘We’ve got a table for five thirty. After the rush.’
        ‘Please, call me Mike,’ says Mike. ‘And, no, I’m afraid. I try not to mix with people. You know, privacy, germs, whatnot. You understand, I’m certain.’
        ‘Oh,’ says Joyce. Ron sees her disappointment. If there is a bigger fan of Mike Waghorn anywhere in Kent or Sussex, he would like to meet them. In fact, now he really thinks about it, he wouldn’t like to meet them.
        ‘There is always a great deal of alcohol,’ says Ibrahim to Mike. ‘And I suspect many fans of yours will be there.’
        Mike has been given pause for thought.
        ‘And we can tell you all about the Thursday Murder Club,’ says Joyce.
        ‘The Thursday Murder Club?’ says Mike. ‘Sounds made up.’
        ‘Everything is made up, when you really think about it,’ says Ibrahim. ‘The alcohol is subsidized by the way. They tried to stop the subsidy, but we held a meeting, a number of words were exchanged, and they thought better of it. And we’ll have you out by seven thirty.’
        Mike looks at his watch, then looks at Pauline. ‘We could probably do a quick supper?’
        Pauline looks at Ron. ‘Will you be there?’
        Ron looks at Joyce, who nods firmly. ‘Sounds like I will, yeah.’
        ‘Then we’ll stay,’ says Pauline.
        ‘Good, good,’ says Ibrahim. ‘There’s something we’d like to talk to you about, Mike.’
        ‘Which is?’ asks Mike.
        ‘All in good time,’ says Ibrahim. ‘I don’t wish to pull focus from Ron.’
        Mike sits in an armchair opposite Ron and starts counting to ten. Ibrahim leans into Joyce.
        ‘He is testing the microphone level.’
        ‘I had worked that out,’ says Joyce, and Ibrahim nods. ‘Thank you for getting him to stay for dinner – you never know, do you?’
        ‘You never do know, Joyce, that is true. Perhaps the two of you will marry before the year is out. And, even if not, which is an outcome we must prepare for, I’m sure he will have plenty of information about Bethany Waites.’
        The door opens once more, and Elizabeth enters the room. The gang is all here. Ron pretends he is not touched. Last time he had a gang of friends like these, they were being hospitalized by police riot shields at the Wapping print-workers’ strike. Happy days.
        ‘Don’t mind me,’ says Elizabeth. ‘You look different, Ron, what is it? You look… healthy.’
        Ron grunts, but sees Pauline smile. That’s a cracking smile, to be fair to her. Is Pauline in his league? Late sixties, a bit young for him? What league is he in these days? It’s been a long time since he’d checked. Either way, what a smile.

2

It can be hard to run a multimillion pound drugs gang from a prison cell. But it is not, as Connie Johnson is discovering, impossible.
        Most of the prison staff are on side, and why wouldn’t they be? She throws enough money around. There are still a couple of guards who won’t play ball, however, and Connie has already had to swallow two illegal SIM cards this week.
        The diamonds, the murders, the bag of cocaine. She had been very skilfully set up, and her trial date has been set for two months’ time. She is eager to keep things ticking over until then.
        Perhaps she will be found guilty, perhaps she won’t, but Connie likes to err on the side of optimism in all things. Plan for success, her mum used to say, although soon afterwards she died, having been hit by an uninsured van.
        Above all it’s good to keep busy. Routine is important in prison. Also, it is important to have things to look forward to, and Connie is looking forward to killing Bogdan. He’s the reason she’s in here and, eyes like mountain pools or not, he is going to have to go.
        And the old guy too. The one who helped Bogdan set her up. She has asked around, and found his name is Ron Ritchie. He’ll have to go as well. She’ll leave them until after the trial – juries don’t like witnesses being murdered – but then she will kill them both.
        Looking down at her phone, Connie sees that one of the men who works in the prison admin block is on Tinder. He is balding and standing next to what appears to be a Volvo of all things, but she swipes right regardless, because you never know when people might come in handy. She sees immediately that they are a match. Quelle surprise!
        Connie has done a bit of research into Ron Ritchie. He was famous apparently, back in the seventies and eighties. She looks at the picture of him on her phone, his face like an unsuccessful boxer, shouting into a megaphone. Clearly a man who enjoyed the limelight.
        Lucky you, Ron Ritchie, thinks Connie. You’ll be famous again by the time I’ve finished with you.
        One thing is for sure: Connie will do anything she can to remain in prison for as short a time as possible. And, once she is out, the mayhem can really begin.
        Sometimes in life you simply have to be patient. Through her barred window Connie looks out over the prison yard, and to the hills beyond. She switches on her Nespresso machine.

3

Mike and Pauline have joined them for dinner.
        Ibrahim loves it when the whole gang is together. Together, and with a mission in mind. Joyce had been adamant that they were to investigate the Bethany Waites case. Ibrahim was quick to agree. Firstly because it is an interesting case. An unsolved case. But mainly because Ibrahim has fallen in love with Joyce’s new dog, Alan, and he is worried that if he upsets her, Joyce might restrict his access.
        ‘You want a drop of red, Mike?’ Ron asks, bottle raised.
        ‘What is it?’ asks Mike.
        ‘How do you mean?’
        ‘What wine is it?’
        Ron shrugs. ‘It’s a red, I don’t know the make.’
        ‘OK, let’s live dangerously, just this once,’ says Mike, and lets Ron pour.
        They have been very keen to talk to Mike Waghorn about the murder of Bethany Waites. It is assumed that he will have information that was not in the official police files. Mike doesn’t know that yet, of course. He is just enjoying free wine with four harmless pensioners.
        Ibrahim will be patient before he starts asking about the murder, because he knows that Joyce is excited to meet Mike, and she has lots of other questions for him first. She has written them down in a notebook, which is in her handbag, in case she forgets any of them.
        Now that Mike has a glass of unidentified red in front of him, Joyce clearly feels able to begin. ‘When you read the news, Mike, is it all written down, or are you allowed to put it in your own words?’
        ‘That’s an excellent question,’ says Mike. ‘Perceptive, gets right to the heart of things. It is all written down, but I don’t always stick to the script.’
        ‘You’ve earned that right over the years,’ says Joyce, and Mike agrees.
        ‘Gets me into trouble from time to time though,’ says Mike. ‘They made me go on an impartiality course in Thanet.’
        ‘Good for you,’ says Elizabeth.
        Ibrahim sees Joyce take a sneaky peek at the notebook in her handbag.
        ‘Do you ever wear any special clothes when you read the news?’ asks Joyce. ‘Special socks or anything?’
        ‘No,’ says Mike. Joyce nods, a little disappointed, then takes another look at her book.
        ‘What happens if you need the loo during a show?’
        ‘For heaven’s sake, Joyce,’ says Elizabeth.
        ‘I go before the show starts,’ says Mike.
        Fun though this is, Ibrahim wonders if it isn’t time to kick off this evening’s proceedings himself. ‘So Mike, we have a –’
        Joyce places a hand on his arm. ‘Ibrahim, forgive me, just a couple more things. What is Amber like?’
        ‘Who’s Amber?’ says Ron.
        ‘Mike’s co-host,’ says Joyce. ‘Honestly, Ron, you’re embarrassing yourself.’
        ‘I do that,’ says Ron. He says this directly to Pauline, who, in Ibrahim’s opinion, had very deliberately sat next to Ron at the start of dinner. Ibrahim usually sits next to Ron. No matter.
        ‘She’s only been there three years, but I am already starting to like her,’ says Joyce.
        ‘She’s terrific,’ says Mike. ‘Goes to the gym a lot, but terrific.’
        ‘She has lovely hair too,’ says Joyce.
        ‘Joyce, you should judge news presenters on their journalism,’ says Mike. ‘And not their appearance. Female presenters, particularly, have to put up with that a lot.’
        Joyce nods, knocks back half a glass of white, then nods again. ‘I do take your point, Mike. I just think that you can be very talented and have lovely hair. Perhaps I’m shallow, but both of those things are important to me. Claudia Winkleman is a good example. You also have lovely hair.’
        ‘I’ll have the steak please,’ says Mike to the waiter now taking their orders. ‘Rare-to-medium rare, err on the side of rare. Though if you err on the side of medium, I’ll live.’
        ‘I had read you were a Buddhist, Mike?’ Ibrahim spent the morning researching their guest.
        ‘I am,’ says Mike. ‘Thirty-odd years.’
        ‘Ah,’ says Ibrahim. ‘I had been under the impression that Buddhists were vegetarian? I was almost sure.’
        ‘I’m Church of England too,’ says Mike. ‘So I pick and choose. That’s the point of being a Buddhist.’
        ‘I stand corrected,’ says Ibrahim.
        Mike has started on his second glass of red, and seems ready to hold court. This is perfect.
        ‘Tell me about this Thursday Murder Club, then,’ he says.
        ‘It’s fairly hush hush,’ says Ibrahim. ‘But we meet up, once a week, the four of us, to look over old police files. See if we can solve anything they were unable to.’
        ‘Sounds like a fun hobby,’ says Mike. ‘Looking into old murders. Keeps you busy I bet? The old grey cells ticking over? Ron, should we get another bottle of this red?’
        ‘It’s mainly been new murders recently,’ says Elizabeth, laying the bait still further.
        Mike laughs. He clearly doesn’t think Elizabeth is being serious. Which is probably for the best. Don’t want to frighten him off just yet.
        ‘Sounds like you don’t mind a bit of trouble here and there,’ says Mike.
        ‘I’ve always been a magnet for trouble,’ says Ron.
        Pauline tops up Ron’s glass. ‘Well, watch yourself, Ron, because I’ve always been trouble.’
        Ibrahim sees Joyce give a tiny, secret smile at this. Ibrahim decides that, before they try to move the conversation, gently and slowly, on to Bethany Waites, he has a question of his own. He turns to Pauline.
        ‘Are you married, Pauline?’ he asks.
        ‘Widow,’ says Pauline.
        ‘Ooh, snap!’ says Joyce. Ibrahim notes that this evening’s combination of wine and celebrity is making her quite the giddy goat.
        ‘How long have you been on your own?’ asks Elizabeth.
        ‘Six months,’ says Pauline.
        ‘Six months? That’s no time at all,’ says Joyce, putting her hand on Pauline’s. ‘I was still putting an extra slice in the toaster at six months.’
        Was it time? Here goes, thinks Ibrahim. Time to make small, subtle shifts in the conversation so they can start talking about Bethany Waites. A delicate dance, with Ibrahim as master choreographer. He has his first move all planned. ‘So, Mike. I wonder if you –’
        ‘I’ll tell you this for nothing,’ says Mike, ignoring Ibrahim, wine glass circling the air. ‘If you want a murder to solve, I’ve got a name for you.’
        ‘Go on?’ says Joyce.
        ‘Bethany Waites,’ says Mike.
        Mike is on board. The Thursday Murder Club always get their man. Ibrahim notes, and not for the first time, that people often seem very willing to walk into their traps.
        Mike takes them through the story they already know from the police files. They nod along, pretending it’s all new to them. The brilliant young reporter, Bethany Waites. The big story she was investigating, a massive VAT fraud, and, then, her unexplained death. Her car driving off Shakespeare Cliff in the dead of night. But there is nothing new. Mike is currently showing them the final message Bethany sent him, the night before she died:

I don’t say this often enough, but thank you.

Touching, certainly. But also nothing they don’t already know. Perhaps the biggest revelation they are going to get from this evening is that Mike Waghorn goes to the toilet before he goes on air. Ibrahim decides to chance his arm.
        ‘What about messages in the few weeks before that? Anything out of the ordinary? Anything the police haven’t seen?’
        Mike scrolls back through his messages, reading some highlights. ‘Do I fancy a pint? Have I watched Line of Duty? There’s one about the story she was working on here, but from a couple of weeks before. Interested?’
        ‘One never knows what might help,’ says Elizabeth, pouring Mike another glass of red.
        Mike reads from his phone.
        ‘Skipper… that’s what she used to call me.’
        ‘Among other things,’ says Pauline.
        ‘Some new info. Can’t say what, but it’s absolute dynamite. Getting closer to the heart of this thing.
        Elizabeth nods. ‘And did she ever tell you what the new information was?’
        ‘She did not,’ says Mike. ‘I’ll tell you what, this red is half decent.’

4

PC Donna De Freitas feels like someone has just punched a hole through the clouds.
        She is flooded with heat and warmth, alive with a pleasure both utterly familiar but completely new. She wants to weep with happiness, and to laugh with the uncomplicated joy of life. If she has ever felt happier, she cannot immediately bring it to mind. If the angels were to carry her away this very moment – and if her heart rate was anything to go by that was a possibility – she would let them scoop her up, while she thanked the heavens for a life well lived.
        ‘How was it?’ asks Bogdan, his hand stroking her hair.
        ‘It was OK,’ says Donna. ‘For a first time.’
        Bogdan nods. ‘I think maybe I can be better.’
        Donna buries her head into Bogdan’s chest.
        ‘Are you crying?’ asks Bogdan. Donna shakes her head without lifting it. Where’s the catch here? Perhaps this is just a one-night thing? What if that’s Bogdan’s style? He’s kind of a loner, isn’t he? What if he’s emotionally unavailable? What if there’s another girl in this bed tomorrow night? White and blonde and twenty-two?
        What was he thinking? That was the one question she knew not to ask a man. They were almost always thinking nothing at all, so were thrown by the question, and felt compelled to make something up. She’d still like to know though. What was going on behind those blue eyes? Eyes that could nail you to a wall. The pure blue of… wait a minute, is he crying?
        Donna sits up, concerned. ‘Are you crying?’
        Bogdan nods.
        ‘Why are you crying? What’s happened?’
        Bogdan looks at her through his gentle tears. ‘I’m so happy you’re here.’
        Donna kisses a tear from his cheek. ‘Has anyone ever seen you cry before?’
        ‘A dentist once,’ says Bogdan. ‘And my mother. Can we go on another date?’
        ‘Oh, I think so, don’t you?’ says Donna.
        ‘I think so,’ agrees Bogdan.
        Donna rests her head on his chest again, comfortably settling on a tattoo of a knife wrapped in barbed wire. ‘Maybe next time we do something other than Nando’s and Laser Quest though?’
        ‘Agreed,’ says Bogdan. ‘Next time perhaps I should choose instead?’
        ‘I think that’s for the best, yes,’ says Donna. ‘It’s not my strong point. But you had fun though?’
        ‘Sure, I liked Laser Quest.’
        ‘You really did, didn’t you?’ says Donna. ‘That children’s birthday party didn’t know what had hit them.’
        ‘It’s a good lesson for them,’ says Bogdan. ‘Fighting is mainly hiding. It’s good to learn that early.’
        Donna looks over at Bogdan’s bedside table. There is a body-builder’s hand-grip, a can of Lilt and the plastic gold medal he won at Laser Quest. What has she found herself here? A fellow traveller?
        ‘Do you ever feel different from other people, Bogdan? Like you’re outside looking in?’
        ‘Well, English is my second language,’ says Bogdan. ‘And I don’t really understand cricket. Do you feel different?’
        ‘Yes,’ says Donna. ‘People make me feel different, I suppose.’
        ‘But sometimes you like to feel different maybe? Sometimes it’s good?’
        ‘Sometimes, of course. I’d like to choose those times myself. Most days I just want to blend in, but in Fairhaven I don’t get the chance.’
        ‘Everyone wants to feel special, but nobody wants to feel different,’ says Bogdan.
        Just look at those shoulders. Two questions come to her at once: are Polish weddings like English weddings? And would it be OK if I rolled over and went to sleep?
        ‘Can I ask you a question, Donna?’ Bogdan suddenly sounds very serious.
        Uh oh.
        ‘Of course,’ says Donna. ‘Anything.’ Anything within reason.
        ‘If you had to murder someone, how would you do it?’
        ‘Hypothetically?’ asks Donna.
        ‘No, for real,’ says Bogdan. ‘We are not children. You’re a police officer. How would you do it? To get away with it?’
        Hmm. Is this Bogdan’s downside? He’s a serial murderer? That would be tough to overlook. Not impossible though, given those shoulders.
        ‘What’s happening here?’ asks Donna. ‘Why are you asking me that?’
        ‘It’s homework for Elizabeth. She wanted to know my thoughts.’
        OK, that makes sense. What a relief. Bogdan is not a homicidal maniac; Elizabeth is. ‘Poison, I suppose,’ says Donna. ‘Something undetectable anyway.’
        ‘Yes, make it look natural,’ agrees Bogdan. ‘Make it look like not a murder.’
        ‘Maybe drive a car at them, late at night,’ says Donna. ‘Anything where you don’t have to touch the body, that’s where forensics will get you. Or a gun, nice and simple, one shot, blam, and get out quick, the whole thing away from security cameras. Plan your escape route of course, that’s essential too. No forensics, no witnesses, no body to bury, that’s how I’d do it. Phone off of course, or leave your phone in a cab, so it’s miles away when you’re committing the murder. Bribe a nurse, maybe get vials of blood from strangers and leave them on the body. Or…’
        Bogdan is looking at her. Has she over-shared there? Maybe move the conversation on.
        ‘What’s Elizabeth up to?’
        ‘She says someone got murdered.’
        ‘Of course she does,’ says Donna.
        ‘But murdered in a car, pushed off a cliff. Is not how I’d murder someone.’
        ‘A car over a cliff? OK, I can see that,’ says Donna. ‘Why is Elizabeth investigating it?’
        Bogdan shrugs. ‘Because Joyce wanted to meet someone off the TV, I think. I didn’t really understand.’
        Donna nods – that sounds about right. ‘Were there any marks on the body? Like they’d been killed before the car went over the cliff?’
        ‘No body, just some clothes and some blood. The body was thrown from the car.’
        ‘That’s convenient for the killer.’ Donna was not used to this type of post-coital talk. Usually you had to hear about someone’s motorbike, or the ex whom they’d just realized they still loved. Or you had to give a reassuring pep-talk. ‘Spectacular though. If the killer wanted to send a message to someone. Difficult to ignore.’
        ‘I think it’s too complicated,’ says Bogdan, ‘For a murder. A car, a cliff, come on.’
        ‘And you’re an expert in murder now?’
        ‘I read a lot,’ says Bogdan.
        ‘What’s your favourite book ever?’
        ‘The Velveteen Rabbit,’ says Bogdan. ‘Or Andre Agassi’s autobiography.’
        Maybe Bogdan could kill Carl, her ex? She’s fantasized about killing Carl a few times. Could Bogdan push Carl’s stupid Mazda over a cliff? But, even as the thought flashes through her mind, and she stretches like a cat finding a patch of sunshine, she realizes she no longer cares about Carl. Be the bigger person, Donna. Let Carl live.
        ‘She could have asked me and Chris to help,’ says Donna. ‘We’d have been able to take a look at it. Do you remember the name?’
        Bogdan shrugs. ‘Bethany something. But they like to do these things by themselves.’
        ‘Don’t they just,’ agrees Donna and throws her arm across his endless chest. Rarely has she felt so thrillingly puny. ‘I like talking about murder with you, Bogdan.’
        ‘I like talking about murder with you too, Donna. Although I don’t think this was murder. Too convenient.’
        Donna looks up, one more time, into those eyes. ‘Bogdan, do you promise that’s not the last time we’re ever going to have sex? Because I’d really like to go to sleep now, and then wake up with you and do it again.’
        ‘I promise,’ says Bogdan, his hand stroking her hair.
        This is how you’re supposed to fall asleep, thinks Donna. How has she not known about this before? Safe and happy and sated. And murders and Elizabeth, and tattoos, and being different and being the same, and cars and cliffs and clothes, and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

Enjoyed this extract from The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman? Let us know in the comments below!

Take a look at all Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club books in order here.

The Bullet That Missed

Richard Osman

72 Comments

    What a teaser!! Sounds like another winner. Can’t wait for the release.

    Love the excellent characterization and humour! Has been chuckling and intrigued already.

    Loved the extract now hate waiting to get the book itself !

    Just four lines and you are back in the world that Richard has created. Cannot wait till September.

    Fabulous!!!
    Intriguing.
    Funny.
    Clever.
    So so clever.

    I did enjoy it and am looking forward to reading the whole book when it comes out.

    Brilliant, I’m hooked already. Can’t wait to read the whole book when it comes out.

    Wish I hadnt read the extract for the new book,
    cant wait to read the whole book when its out

    Can’t wait to read the rest of this. Already got me hooked

    Loved it. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new book.

    Loved it. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new book.

    Absolutely love The Thursday Murder Club books and can’t wait for the next one (especially after reading this excerpt!)

    It has all the things we want and promises so much more to come. Thank you.

    I was already looking forward to reading this but the extract only makes me more impatient. I love these characters.

    Great opening to the book, can’t wait until the 15th September, my copy has been on pre-order for months.

    The Thursday Murder Club appears to be coming back with a bang – and a grateful public will have a great run through the Autumn to Xmas…I’ve had the book on pre-order since I finished the second, which I put on pre-order New Years Eve 2020 – having spent three days reading the first…hooked like a chubby trout on a taut line…keep them coming (can we have two a year now that Richards cut back on Pointless?)

    His now familiar methodology of hint-dropping and convoluted plotting already surfacing in this extract. I will enjoy t.he rest in due course!

    Draws you straight in, as usual. I read the other books by candelight straight through when my electricity was down for four days in the winter!
    Ordered this one immediately and am waiting for September. Such perceptive writing. It makes your mind dart all over the place trying to work out what is coming next. Brilliant.

    Loved the extract and can’t wait to read the full story! I pre-ordered it months ago!

    Sounds brilliant already can’t wait for it to be released in September, I have pre-ordered it. I love all the characters but Joyce is my favourite. Please don’t stop writing about them. The best books ever 😊

    Already excited, I’ve missed these guys! So pleased Bogdan and Donna got together. I love the combinations of humour, quirkiness and a mystery to unwind.

    I enjoyed it very much but I knew I would as I have read the other books. I have pre-ordered a copy to arrive in September.

    Fabulous. Osman’s done it again. Such a light and playful touch, tender but sharp and smart too. Wonderful stuff.

    A very enticing start. Hard to resist for any fans of the Thursday Murder Club!

    I, for one, cannot wait until 15th September. The gang is back! ‘The Bullet the Missed’ feels like it won’t disappoint.
    Is Lesley Manville reading the audiobook – can anyone confirm?

    I’m sucked right in. Can’t wait for ‘The Bullet That Missed’ to be released!

    Hooked already Richard. How long to release date please?!?!?📕📘📗

    Well if I wasn’t excited to read The Bullet That Missed before*, I am now!

    Bogdan’s favourite book though ❤️ and 🤣🤣

    Can’t wait to catch up with gang again!

    *I was excited before 😉

    Enjoyed this extract and already intrigued to read the rest of the story xx I have already ordered this from our local bookshop. X

    So good to catch-up with ones friends from Cooper’s Chase. Appetite whetted, roll on publication day, I can’t wait

    Just brilliant, I’m straight back at Coopers Chase with the gang and can’t wait for the full book!

    I really enjoyed the first chapter. Can’t wait to read the whole book!

    Can’t wait to continue reading this book,sounds amazing. Keep up the good work

    Whetted my appetite, can’t wait for September.

    Having read and thoroughly enjoyed, Richard’s first two books, I can’t wait to read the whole new one.

    For goodness sake! Obviously thank you for the free teaser chapter but it’s already so good I don’t know how I’m going to hold out until September 🙂
    Absolutely love, thank you

    A good teaser introduction. So glad I’ve got this book on order.

    Thank you Richard for that taste of the new book. I am going to pre-order it and I look forward to having it. I’ve shared the first two books with my son and also have referred other people to the books because they are so Intriguing and fun.

    Ooo fab, felt right back at home with them all. Can’t wait!

    Ooh thrilling, grips you from the first sentence almost, can’t wait for the rest …..to be cont.

    Loved it. I pre ordered this as soon as I had finished book 2 which I had pre ordered after book 1! I can feel a tradition starting. Absolutely love the way Richard Osman writes.

    Fabulous start. Love the continual development of the characters and how the hook of the murder has been presented. Can’t wait to read the rest.

    It’s going to be like waiting for Christmas! Counting down the days until I can move on to chapter 2!

    Wow … I love it! Donna and Bogdan. About time they both found love and passion.

    Joyce, oh Joyce. You little flirt.

    So pleased Ibrahim is on the mend.

    The Thursday Murder Club. I can’t wait for the new book! Already ordered from my local Waterstones.

    Wow, if that’s the first chapter I can’t wait to get my book, i pre-ordered a copy the minute i heard about a third instalment – of course i already have the first two, and read them within days, Richard Osman is a pure genius

    Great stuff! Instantly back in the groove, can’t wait for the whole thing 😊

    Done it again, all the hallmarks of another brilliant story, can’t wait.

    Great reading – I just wanted it to go on. Can’t wait for my copy of the book!

    ‘Everyone wants to feel special, but nobody wants to feel different,’ says Bogdan. That is a brilliant line Richard, I love it. The book is already better than the first two and I enjoyed those so much. I think the first was my book of the year and I’ve read both of them a couple of times.
    Enough fawning, sorry about that. Looking forward to receiving my pre-ordered copy. Thanks for writing.

    Oh, he’s back and on form. Can’t wait until it’s out.

    Oh my goodness! I’m already hooked! I’m intrigued to see where the story goes. I love the Thursday Murder Club & their idiosyncrasies. I’m really looking forward to the development of Donna & Bogdan’s relationship. BTW, I would LOVE to meet Bogdan – he sounds like my kind of guy.

    Continue! This is going to be exciting fun,except for scary Connie! An evil madam.P C R

    I cannot wait to for this installment! I am going to reread the 1st 2 again. I’ve loved the extracts from the bullet that missed 😁

    Great stuff as usual! Still no good at spotting the banana skins! Looking forward to enjoying the rest. Thank you.

    Am totally absorbed in the book already . I read a lot my father used to say I’d read the label on a sauce bottle if there was nothing else to do.Can’t wait for the book .

    Can’t wait for the rest. Utterly absorbing and brilliant as usual.

    ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ 😂 nice touch!
    Yep 🙌🏼 Made me laugh out loud 😁 Thanks Richard. 😎 Looking forward to reading the rest 👍🏼. 😙

    I just realised how much I miss the gang, big dick, you’ve still got it 😜
    Can’t wait to read it all.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the sneak peek, can’t wait for the book to be published, though obviously, I will have to wait, so a stupid thing to say really. Oh well.

    Absolutely corking, I love these books and can’t wait for this to be released in full!!!

    Can’t wait for this book to be released. I love the guest two, and this one is looking intriguing.

    Oh you naughty man! You whet our appetite with this snippet and now we have to wait until September. Can’t wait to read the rest.

    Ooh! What a tease! Can’t wait for the book to carry on! Already invested in the story and glad the old gang are still together and going strong! Thank you for the extract.

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