Write up of a Richard Osman and Alexander Armstrong Online Talk
Organised by Penguin/VikingBooks and Waterstones
A treat of a talk/virtual online event.
I reviewed the book a couple of months ago and saw a talk at Bloody Scotland a year ago. Yes, waited a year for this. And now I have seen this very enthusiastic talk by Alexander Armstrong interviewing Richard Osman. The joy was over-spilling in a way that was infectious and incredibly heartwarming. Perhaps one of the most heartwarming talks I’ve ever seen! The comaraderie was fantastic.
Richard Osman talked about always wanting to write. He wrote 20,000 words for a book and kept going. Six years ago he had an idea for a book and told Alexander Armstrong (but not it all), but then he kept it all in secret, deciding “who wants to hear of a game show host writing a book?” I must say he has a point, although the real point, I must say is, his talent is incredible and his writing, well, you would never guess it was a debut novel.
Richard Osman went to a retirement village, where people seemed to actually be enjoying themseleves still. It also had a very English countryside feel to its backdrop and, he decided, the perfect murder setting…
He thought about the new relationships that had been formed between the residents and how the place felt like a university halls of residence, but with the bonus of no homework.
Then, in The Thursday Murder Club, he wrote of the most unlikely of friendships forming and created his 4 characters, which are quite wonderful. He talked very fondly of his characters, as did Alexander Armstrong, who definitely approves of the book, and of the stories unfolding and using cakes as a device and the fact they were somewhat overlooked, to get themselves right to the heart of the police case and used the layers that built up of their expertise.
Alexander Armstrong then talked of the book being beautifully observed (I agree that it most certainly is) and of being in Agatha Christie and Alan Bennett territory. Both seemed to enjoy Joyce as she is written unsentimentally and has the freedom to say and do what she likes, which is where the being overlooked comes into it and means she, and the others can get away with a lot with little consequence.
Alexander Armstrong talked about the kindness, warmth and modern world within the book. They discussed the technology of the modern world and crime and how Richard Osman wanted to also keep the book very real.
About writing the book – Richard Osman talked of the characters running away with him and of the scenes/chapters of the book. He had a setting and knew who his characters were immediately, who then came alive when they interacted and reacted to each other and to situations.
It was interesting to hear about how drafts change, characters chopped and it was all honed down to the final copy that you will see in Waterstones and many Independent bookshops.
What really came across is the fact that he had fun writing it and really wants to entertain people. He seems like a man who genuinely cares about his craft, whether it is on TV on the likes of Pointless or writing novels. He intimated that he could go on writing forever. The passion really did appear.
Book 2 and more…
Currently, book 2 is in the drafting stage. Book 2 of which I also cannot wait to read (and hopefully review). There is a film deal with Steven Speilberg. Richard Osman signed over the rights to him, partly at least because he is excellent at making movies and may never heard of him and what he does here in the UK. He intimated he may not have anything to do with the script as the same writer for The Exotic Marigold Hotel (great films), has so far been commissioned to do this and Richard Osman also feels like he would know what he is doing.
I would more than likely go and see the film. The book is on my books of the year short-list and I can tell you it would lend itself very well to a film.
He talked of liking Inspector Morse and also the novels by Kate Atkinson. He talked also of making more Pointless.
Thank you to Richard Osman and Alexander Armstrong for giving such an enlightening and entertaining talk. Thank you also to the team at Viking Books/ Penguin for arranging such a fabulous event in such strange, unpredictable times.
I wish everyone well and hope that all stay safe.
The Thursday Murder Club is published Thursday 3rd September 2020 and can be bought from Independent Bookshops and Waterstones.
I pre-ordered mine, even though I had a review copy as I enjoyed it so much.