The Bookseller – Rights – Richard Osman signs four-book deal with Viking including new series of novels

Viking has announced a new four-book deal with Richard Osman including two books in a new series, after he smashed sales records this week with his third book in the Thursday Murder Club series, The Bullet That Missed. The book has become the fastest-selling adult fiction hardback by a British author ever, beating the figure previously set by JK Rowling’s. The Casual Vacancy (Little, Brown).

Viking snapped up two further Thursday Murder Club novels and two in a new series to launch in 2024. Harriet Bourton, publisher, acquired UK rights from Osman’s agent Juliet Mushens at Mushens Entertainment.

The Bullet That Missed sold 216,662 copies in its first three days across all formats, with the hardback sale of 127,743 copies making it the fastest-selling adult hardback from a British author since BookScan records began. Authors Harper Lee and Dan Brown have sold more books, but aren’t British, and EL James was never published in hardback.

The fourth book in the series, currently untitled, will publish in September 2023, with the Thursday Murder Club to return in subsequent adventures.

To date Osman has sold 3.1 million books for £25m through Nielsen BookScan TCM, with The Thursday Murder Club on 1.1 million copies sold in paperback.

Osman will begin a new series in 2024, starring a father and daughter-in-law duo who run their own private investigation company which takes them around the world, solving mysteries that nobody else can. He told BBC News in July that his new series will be “a sort of Thursday Murder Club meets. The Da Vinci Code“, inspired by a recent visit to a bookshop.

Around the world, Osman’s existing publishers have also swooped in to snap up the rights to the new books. Major deals are already confirmed, with North American rights sold to Pamela Dorman Books via Jenny Bent at the Bent Agency on behalf of Mushens Entertainment, and further deals in Germany (Ullstein), Denmark (Gydendal) and the Netherlands (Cargo).

Bourton said: “Since the launch of his debut in 2020, Richard Osman has been entertaining millions of readers around the world who have taken his characters into their hearts. While the gang’s sleuthing will continue in future installations of The Thursday Murder Club, we are extremely excited that with this new deal Richard will also be introducing us to a new series. The entire Viking team believe in Richard’s longevity as an exceptional storyteller, and this four-book deal marks Penguin’s long-term partnership with him: a career we are endlessly ambitious about.”

Osman added: “I’m so thrilled to be writing more Thursday Murder Club books at Viking, the gang couldn’t wish for a happier home. And I’ve been secretly excited for a while now about my new series, which I think readers will love. More details soon, I promise, but for now here’s a toast to more Joyce, Elizabeth, Ibrahim and Ron, and to some brand-new friends too.”

Mushens also commented: “Working with Richard has been a joy from day one, and I love watching him grow as an author from book to book – funny, warm, but also with a scalpel-sharp eye for a compelling mystery. I’m thrilled that Viking have come on board for a new series and can’t wait to see it smash records all over the world – just like the last.”

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