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30 review for The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    When a soccer player collapses and dies at a London stadium, it is up to Inspector Slade to catch the killer. He always gets his man. With little cooperation from those most likely to know anything useful, it is challenging. The man was not popular, and motives or potential motives abound. Slade suspects the murder is connected to the death of a girl a few years ago. He just needs to make the puzzle pieces fit . . . and he finally does. I enjoyed this Golden Age mystery and would love to read mo When a soccer player collapses and dies at a London stadium, it is up to Inspector Slade to catch the killer. He always gets his man. With little cooperation from those most likely to know anything useful, it is challenging. The man was not popular, and motives or potential motives abound. Slade suspects the murder is connected to the death of a girl a few years ago. He just needs to make the puzzle pieces fit . . . and he finally does. I enjoyed this Golden Age mystery and would love to read more books with Inspector Slade. I received an advance electronic copy from the publisher through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Up the Gunners! Top football team Arsenal is playing a friendly against the Trojans – an amateur team who have been on an amazing winning streak and are thrilled to be taking on the professionals. The ground is jam-packed – seventy thousand spectators have crammed themselves onto the terraces, mostly Arsenal fans but plenty hoping the Trojans will play well and provide an exciting match. But shortly into the second half, the Trojans’ newest player, right-half John Doyce, collapses and has to be c Up the Gunners! Top football team Arsenal is playing a friendly against the Trojans – an amateur team who have been on an amazing winning streak and are thrilled to be taking on the professionals. The ground is jam-packed – seventy thousand spectators have crammed themselves onto the terraces, mostly Arsenal fans but plenty hoping the Trojans will play well and provide an exciting match. But shortly into the second half, the Trojans’ newest player, right-half John Doyce, collapses and has to be carried off the field. The game continues, with neither players nor crowd knowing that in the treatment room a desperate battle is being carried on to save Doyce’s life. By the time the final whistle is blown, the battle has been lost... In a lot of ways, this is a standard murder mystery with a Scotland Yard Inspector as detective. But what makes it unique is that it’s set amid the real Arsenal team of its time of writing – 1939 – and the actual players and manager appear in the book. Gribble has also had access to behind the scenes at the stadium, and provides what feels like an authentic picture of what it would have been like playing or working for a top club back then, in the days when even professional sides still had players who had “real” jobs as well as their sporting careers. I’m not a big football fan, but it’s impossible to be British and not have a reasonable knowledge of the game, and I enjoyed the look back at a time when boys wanted to play for their local teams for the glory of the game, rather than to become fabulously wealthy celebrities with their own clothing label and drug habit – back when sportspeople were actually sporting. It also brought back memories of how terrifying/exhilarating* it was to be packed like sardines in an overfull stadium, the vast majority of people standing on the terraces with only the posh folk sitting in the stands (yeah, strange terminology, I know), and the horror/excitement* of the massive surge forward when your team scored. Those days are gone – the major disasters of the seventies and eighties pushed stadiums to become all-seater, so younger fans won’t ever have had that experience – I don’t know whether that makes them lucky or unlucky, to be honest. Fortunately, however, the book gets out of the football stadium before my reminiscences turned to boredom, and the plot revolves around the personal lives of the players rather than their sporting careers. Unsurprisingly, Gribble’s victim is one of the fictional Trojan players, and the real players and staff at Arsenal play only minor roles. I think it’s also safe to say that the real people can be discounted as suspects! Doyce was an unpleasant chap with a reputation as a womaniser and had given several of his team-mates and the staff of the Trojans cause to dislike him. He’d only joined the club a week earlier, but several of them had played together before in another team, and another of the Trojans was his business partner. So there’s a good pool of suspects and some intriguing motives for Inspector Slade and Sergeant Clinton to investigate. Inspector Slade is professional in his approach, but is helped along by his almost superhuman ability to make wild guesses that turn out to be correct. A couple of these were pretty ridiculous, in truth, and I felt they let the plotting down badly – with a little more work Gribble could have made these leaps a result of investigation rather than miraculous-level intuition. Otherwise, the plotting is pretty good, especially in the motivation, and on the whole I liked the characterisation although for the most part it’s not very in-depth. I debated whether it’s “fair-play” - in the introduction, Martin Edwards describes it that way – but I’m not wholly convinced. The explanation when it comes could have applied to several of the suspects – the vital piece of information that identifies the murderer wasn’t available to the reader. There are also odd plot holes, like people being married without their friends and colleagues knowing and people being engaged but no-one knowing to whom. Necessary for the plot to work, but unlikely... Overall then, I enjoyed this without being entirely convinced by the plotting. The evocative and well-written descriptions of attending a football match back in the days when it was a major weekly occasion in the lives of so much of working-class Britain – of doing the football “pools”, of trying to find out the results of rival matches once the game was over, of seventy thousand people all wending their way homewards very slowly on overcrowded buses and trains – entertained me far more than I anticipated, and I suspect would appeal even more to die-hard football fans (especially ones of a certain age). A walk down memory lane... and, as with so much vintage crime, fun as much for what it shows us about society as for the actual mystery element. NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, British Library Crime Classics. (*delete as appropriate) www.fictionfanblog.wordpress.com

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Pretty standard Scotland Yard procedural made more fun and interesting by the sports setting. What I didn’t realize until I finished the book is that the Arsenal team portrayed are all real people, done with the team’s blessing. There is even a film, which I now want to see.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eva Müller

    This review can also be found on my blog. When Jack Doyce collapses during a football match and dies not much later it doesn’t take long to discover that he was murdered. And a suspect appears just as quickly: Phillip Morring was Doyce’s business partner. His death means Morring receives a large sum of money from the life insurance. They were on the football team together, so Morring had the opportunity to poison him and when Slade discovers that Morring’s fiancée was having an affair with Doyce This review can also be found on my blog. When Jack Doyce collapses during a football match and dies not much later it doesn’t take long to discover that he was murdered. And a suspect appears just as quickly: Phillip Morring was Doyce’s business partner. His death means Morring receives a large sum of money from the life insurance. They were on the football team together, so Morring had the opportunity to poison him and when Slade discovers that Morring’s fiancée was having an affair with Doyce it seems that everything fits together perfectly. But Slade isn’t fully convinced, especially after he finds out that Doyce was implicated in a tragedy that happened a few years back. Is someone taking revenge? But the evidence against Morring is piling up as well, so is perhaps the most obvious solution the right one after all? The mystery itself is solid and keeps you guessing. It does require some suspension of disbelief (among other things, the plot only works because a girl told nobody whom she was getting engaged to, not even her own father) but not more than in the average golden age mystery. In a solid mystery, I can usually excuse bland detectives and Slade is very bland. (How bland? you ask. Well, on Goodreads his name was mistakenly given as MacDonald and I had not noticed that and happily called him as MacDonald in this review until I looked up a quote in the book and saw that he was in fact called Slade). And with the exception of Pat Laruce – Morring’s fiancée – so are most side-characters. They are in fact, for a mystery novel, surprisingly sensible. Morring, for example, immediately tells the police about the fact that he gains a lot of money from Doyce’s death. He is slightly less forthcoming about his fiancée but once he realizes that the police know, he comes clean immediately – and so do most other characters in similar situations. Only Pat, the already mentioned exception, is as unhelpful as possible and has her own agenda. As such she’s more like a character one is used to from mysteries but next to all the others, she appears more like a comical caricature. Then there’s the football connection which felt forced. The victim is a football player who died during a match. But he could just as easily have been killed during a weekend country house party. Neither the football nor the cameos by Arsenal players and the manager added anything to the story. Perhaps you have to be a real football-fan for that and care a lot about Arsenal (and its 1939 team) to get anything out of that and with my casual ‘I pay some attention to the German league table and am happy when certain teams are in the upper half’ attitude it didn’t really work. And then there’s… “Well, Inspector?” asked the Arsenal manager. “I’m afraid Dr Meadows doesn’t think it was an accident,” said the Yard detective. Epithets. So many of them. Any character who appears more than one will have an epithet that gets used frequently. I have spent too much of my teenage years reading bad Harry Potter fanfiction full of the dark-haired boy, the blonde man, the Gryffindor star-pupil and the boy who could talk to snakes* and now I am very allergic to epithets of all kinds. All in all, I think this book might be interesting for people who are very interested in football history. The rest can easily miss it. *I am not suggesting that only one fandom has this problem. Or even only fanfiction, as this book proves. But that’s where I got my overdose of this particular bad style-advice

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Now almost forgotten Golden Age author Gribble takes readers behind the scenes of pro/am football (soccer to us Americans) when an obnoxious amateur dies during a big match. The police are sure it's poison, but just how did he get the unusual drug during the game? One of his teammates is also his business partner, and there seems to be plenty of motive involved, but Inspector Slade is not so sure. Real players for the popular professional team Arsenal are characters, but not suspects, which must Now almost forgotten Golden Age author Gribble takes readers behind the scenes of pro/am football (soccer to us Americans) when an obnoxious amateur dies during a big match. The police are sure it's poison, but just how did he get the unusual drug during the game? One of his teammates is also his business partner, and there seems to be plenty of motive involved, but Inspector Slade is not so sure. Real players for the popular professional team Arsenal are characters, but not suspects, which must have given a bit of a thrill to readers at the time.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Roden

    Highly enjoyable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Steven Heywood

    The book of the film, though to know the film is most definitely not to know the book. There's space for a bit more legwork and a few more twists so approach it with an open mind and enjoy a real period piece. The book of the film, though to know the film is most definitely not to know the book. There's space for a bit more legwork and a few more twists so approach it with an open mind and enjoy a real period piece.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Erin Britton

    In his introduction to The Arsenal Stadium Mystery, Martin Edwards notes that the book is an unusual example of a “Golden Age” whodunit for three key reasons. First, because the story focuses on the world of football, both professional and amateur, a sport that otherwise rarely features in mysteries from that era, perhaps due to issues of class and the fact that the popular “enthusiastic amateur” detectives tended to be gentlemen (and sometimes ladies) of leisure. It is rather hard to imagine He In his introduction to The Arsenal Stadium Mystery, Martin Edwards notes that the book is an unusual example of a “Golden Age” whodunit for three key reasons. First, because the story focuses on the world of football, both professional and amateur, a sport that otherwise rarely features in mysteries from that era, perhaps due to issues of class and the fact that the popular “enthusiastic amateur” detectives tended to be gentlemen (and sometimes ladies) of leisure. It is rather hard to imagine Hercule Poirot, Lord Peter Wimsey or Gervase Fen participating in a casual kickabout (although it wouldn’t be too shocking to discover that Miss Marple had a surprisingly powerful left foot). Second, since a large number of the supporting characters, that is, manager George Allison and the Arsenal football team, are real people. Third, because Leonard Gribble’s story was originally serialised in a newspaper, with the novel version unashamedly serving as a “film tie-in” in order to generate both publicity and revenue (the film, starring Leslie Banks and directed by Thorold Dickinson, was realised in 1939). The book is certainly noteworthy for all three above-mentioned reasons, but it is the quality of the central mystery that will keep readers hooked until the very end. The Arsenal Stadium Mystery begins with a historic friendly match between Arsenal, league champions and representatives of professional football, and the Trojans, led by Francis Kindilett, the best amateur side in Britain. The teams are fairly evenly matched (something that wasn’t considered outlandish back in 1939 when one of the Arsenal team actually had a day job as a teacher), although Arsenal do take the lead toward the end of the first half. Then, during the second half, Trojan player Jack Doyce, who had recently scored an impressive penalty to level the match, collapses on the pitch. Despite being quickly taken off for treatment, Doyce dies a little while later, suspicions as to the cause of his demise are raised, and Scotland Yard’s Inspector Anthony Slade is called in to investigate how someone can be murdered in front of 70,000 witnesses. Of course, the “on the pitch” action in The Arsenal Stadium Mystery means that the story will likely appeal to mystery-loving football fans, particularly those who follow the Gunners, as does the appearance of real-life characters such as George Allison, who is treated almost reverentially by Gribble, and players like Bernard Joy and Ted Drake, although the book is no mere vehicle for further popularising the beautiful game. Indeed, those with no interest in football will also find plenty to enjoy in Gribble’s interpretation of the classic “fair play” mystery novel. He allows Inspector Slade to quite quickly narrow down the pool of suspects to those associated with the Trojans and then sets out a fair number of clues to help readers identify Doyce’s murderer, although he also throws in plenty of red-herrings so that the investigation is far from straightforward. As Edwards comments, “Gribble switches suspicion quite effectively between members of a small group of people who might have a motive to kill the victim.” Inspector Slade, Gribble’s most popular series detective (he also wrote the Paul Irving series under the pen name Leo Grex and the Superintendent Frank Drury series under the pen name Piers Marlowe) is a realistic police officer who gets results through digging into the past of the victim and the dogged questioning of suspects. Sure, he’s not above cogitating on how the crime could have been committed and who is likely to be the perpetrator, but he relies on evidence rather than a grand denouement during which the suspect freely confesses for no apparent reason. It’s just as well that Slade is a patient and persistent detective, since a number of people had reason to want Doyce dead. From his business partner Philip Morring to Morring’s fiancée Gwen to the Trojans’ manager Francis Kindilett and trainer George Raille to teammates such as Dick Stetchley, Doyce had got on the wrong side of plenty of folks at one time or another. The Arsenal Stadium Mystery is an unusual and inventive detective story that works murder and intrigue into a setting left largely untouched by the majority of other crime authors from the “Golden Age”. It features a seemingly unique method of killing, an insightful detective and plenty of viable suspects, and it is another worthy additional to the British Library’s excellent Crime Classics series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brian Williams

    An up-and-coming star soccer player collapses in front of several thousand fans during a match at the Arsenal Stadium in London. Scotland Yard is summoned when he later dies and Inspector Slade comes to the scene. Slade and his assistant Sergeant Clinton investigate the murder amidst the local colour of the soccer stadium, the teams and their routines. At the beginning of the story there's some running commentary about the on-field action, but intimate knowledge of the soccer game is not necessa An up-and-coming star soccer player collapses in front of several thousand fans during a match at the Arsenal Stadium in London. Scotland Yard is summoned when he later dies and Inspector Slade comes to the scene. Slade and his assistant Sergeant Clinton investigate the murder amidst the local colour of the soccer stadium, the teams and their routines. At the beginning of the story there's some running commentary about the on-field action, but intimate knowledge of the soccer game is not necessary to follow the story. Of course there's plenty of non-sports activity involving the players' personal lives and careers which leads to the introduction of several interesting characters. As with many Golden Age mysteries, the murder victim here is not well liked by others, leaving the inspector a full slate of potential killers, both in the soccer world and the victim's personal life. The investigation narrative flows smoothly at a good pace to a dramatic reveal scene in which the killer is unmasked by Inspector Slade. It's a solid police procedural murder mystery which I can recommend, particularly to fans of the Golden Age mysteries. Martin Edwards's Introduction at the beginning of the book provides insight to both the story and the author. It's worth reading. Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and Netgalley for providing an advance reading eBook of this novel. The views expressed are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly-Jo Sweeney

    I have to admit that this is the first mystery novel that is set in the world of football. You could probably write everything I know about football on a postage stamp and still leave room for a margin, which is a bit pitiful for a Brit, it being our national sport. Still, that didn't really matter when it came to reading this book. Although football and more particularly the gunners gave the scene for this story, it didn't mean that a non-football fan couldn't still enjoy it and get a lot out o I have to admit that this is the first mystery novel that is set in the world of football. You could probably write everything I know about football on a postage stamp and still leave room for a margin, which is a bit pitiful for a Brit, it being our national sport. Still, that didn't really matter when it came to reading this book. Although football and more particularly the gunners gave the scene for this story, it didn't mean that a non-football fan couldn't still enjoy it and get a lot out of it. Like many of these classic mysteries from the golden age of the genre, the mystery revolves around a small cast of characters, many of who seem to have a motive for killing the person who meets their untimely end. As often is the case in books like this, the victim, Doyce, is a thoroughly nasty piece of work, which means that not only could there be a lot of people who want to do away with him, but also you can't really mind too much that he is killed off. I don't want to go into the various motives or do anything that might give the identity of the killer away. I will say though, that I did manage to solve the mystery, although I did think that some of the background was a little bit far fetched. Overall, this is an enjoyable mystery read. If you like classic mysteries, even if football isn't usually your thing, I think you'll enjoy this. I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    Although this is a re-release of an older book the story is just as fresh as it was the first time around. Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Slade and his partner Sargent Clinton must solve the mystery of a footballer who is murdered on the playing field in front of fans and players alike with no obvious signs of foul play. The characters are both believable and likable and the scenes of football play were exciting to even a non football following reader. Adding real life characters although fro Although this is a re-release of an older book the story is just as fresh as it was the first time around. Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Slade and his partner Sargent Clinton must solve the mystery of a footballer who is murdered on the playing field in front of fans and players alike with no obvious signs of foul play. The characters are both believable and likable and the scenes of football play were exciting to even a non football following reader. Adding real life characters although from the past helped to bring the story alive. The mystery moves seamlessly through various locations and suspects forward and backward in time. The more you learn of the facts the more complex the mystery becomes as the detectives search for the clues to the present murder in a past event. The story keeps your interest while the facts unraveled and up to the climix. I will definitely look for more books by this author. Note: I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    "The Arsenal Stadium Mystery" is a mystery set in England and originally published in 1939. It provided a unique look at soccer (football) at that time. The mystery was a clue-based puzzle mystery. The detective methodically questioned the suspects and manipulated them to get answers when they didn't want to explain things. By following up on the clues and motivations, he was able to see past what the killer and suspects wanted him to believe and find the truth. I did guess whodunit about the sam "The Arsenal Stadium Mystery" is a mystery set in England and originally published in 1939. It provided a unique look at soccer (football) at that time. The mystery was a clue-based puzzle mystery. The detective methodically questioned the suspects and manipulated them to get answers when they didn't want to explain things. By following up on the clues and motivations, he was able to see past what the killer and suspects wanted him to believe and find the truth. I did guess whodunit about the same time as the detective started to suspect that person (though the detective doesn't clearly admit whom he suspects and why until the end). There was no sex. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting mystery. I received a review copy of the book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    A middling 'golden age' detective story. I remember watching the '30s film adaptation years ago but can remember little about it and the same will be true of this book in time. Although the football connection is gimmicky, it makes for a unique angle and the inclusion of real-life players is fun. The opening murder is sufficiently mysterious, but after the initial set-up, things flag and never really pick up as they should. This is a very small scale story with a small cast of characters and a d A middling 'golden age' detective story. I remember watching the '30s film adaptation years ago but can remember little about it and the same will be true of this book in time. Although the football connection is gimmicky, it makes for a unique angle and the inclusion of real-life players is fun. The opening murder is sufficiently mysterious, but after the initial set-up, things flag and never really pick up as they should. This is a very small scale story with a small cast of characters and a detective who merely questions as an aspect of his work. Clues are low on the ground and it's all about working out the back stories and who did what to whom. So you get a book which is pages upon pages of dialogue until the final reveal. The solution holds together okay but I was just hoping for something with a bit more 'oomph'.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Ladensack

    A fun and neatly put together mystery, and almost a primary document on sporting history.... Usually I’m not keen on incorporating historical figures in mysteries, but this one used the contemporary 1939 Arsenal soccer team, and seeing how they were handled by the author was neat (and would have been even more fun at the time of publication, or if I knew more about Arsenal or its history). To a 21st century sports fan, though, it is pretty fascinating that the premise—an amateur team playing the A fun and neatly put together mystery, and almost a primary document on sporting history.... Usually I’m not keen on incorporating historical figures in mysteries, but this one used the contemporary 1939 Arsenal soccer team, and seeing how they were handled by the author was neat (and would have been even more fun at the time of publication, or if I knew more about Arsenal or its history). To a 21st century sports fan, though, it is pretty fascinating that the premise—an amateur team playing the professionals—was plausible back then, and to see the relatively “normal” lives of the players, as the intro says, in a time before multi-million dollar contracts and naming rights. Also, as an American, I was intrigued to see the word “soccer” here and there—I thought it was always “football”...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Mildly disappointing, but I am inspired by Martin Edward's useful Introduction to go back to the film which I have not seen for a number of years. This is workmanlike stuff with too much conversation for my liking. There are also too many stock characters- the handsome lothario, the hard-bitten model, the plucky amateurs. It reads like a piece of thirties journalism rather than a work of fiction, almost too realistic in some ways, yet highly artificial in others. As a mystery it was almost a non-s Mildly disappointing, but I am inspired by Martin Edward's useful Introduction to go back to the film which I have not seen for a number of years. This is workmanlike stuff with too much conversation for my liking. There are also too many stock characters- the handsome lothario, the hard-bitten model, the plucky amateurs. It reads like a piece of thirties journalism rather than a work of fiction, almost too realistic in some ways, yet highly artificial in others. As a mystery it was almost a non-starter for me as I spotted the murderer and motive early on. Inspector Slade is reasonably interesting but I am not terribly inspired to seek out more of his cases.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Louise d'Abadia

    Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for my copy of this book. “The Arsenal Stadium Mystery” is a solid and well written murder mystery that fits into the Golden Age genre. Though I enjoyed how the story played out, there were a few disappointing bits in the book: Slade isn’t interesting in any way, the connection with the Arsenal team seems to exist only to set the story partially in the sports world, and this book could have easily been written surrounding any other topics other than spo Thank you NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for my copy of this book. “The Arsenal Stadium Mystery” is a solid and well written murder mystery that fits into the Golden Age genre. Though I enjoyed how the story played out, there were a few disappointing bits in the book: Slade isn’t interesting in any way, the connection with the Arsenal team seems to exist only to set the story partially in the sports world, and this book could have easily been written surrounding any other topics other than sports. I have nothing against sport centered mysteries (is that even a thing?), but I with Arsenal played a bigger role in this story in order for it to live up to its title.

  17. 5 out of 5

    John Newcomb

    This was an interesting little murder mystery. I have watched the film (or the bits with Arsenal players and managers) on a number of occasions. The British Library have just released the book which was to accompany the film (this was going on even in the 1930s). Like so many Agatha Christie/Dorothy Sayers type murder mysteries it is incredibly contrived and completely unbelievable and only the unrealistic detective can look at the puzzle and come up with such a silly result. That said, referenc This was an interesting little murder mystery. I have watched the film (or the bits with Arsenal players and managers) on a number of occasions. The British Library have just released the book which was to accompany the film (this was going on even in the 1930s). Like so many Agatha Christie/Dorothy Sayers type murder mysteries it is incredibly contrived and completely unbelievable and only the unrealistic detective can look at the puzzle and come up with such a silly result. That said, references to Jones, Drake, Hapgood, Male and Joy as well as the manager and trainer Allison and Whittaker, it makes an almost unique piece of Arsenal memorabilia.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Annarella

    I love British Library Crime Classics and this was no exception. I was curious about a book set in the soccer world and it was interesting to have a look at that world. The mystery was a classic whodunit, engaging and entertaining. I loved the plot, solid and without no plot hole, the cast of characters and the setting. There was a bonus added because I discovered the movie and had pleasure in seeing it. A very good mystery, highly recommended! Many thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss for this I love British Library Crime Classics and this was no exception. I was curious about a book set in the soccer world and it was interesting to have a look at that world. The mystery was a classic whodunit, engaging and entertaining. I loved the plot, solid and without no plot hole, the cast of characters and the setting. There was a bonus added because I discovered the movie and had pleasure in seeing it. A very good mystery, highly recommended! Many thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and Edelweiss for this ARC

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian's Bookshelves

    An intriguing mystery in that it features real people. The 1939 Arsenal football team and manager play a part in this murder mystery. When a player from an opposing team dies during the game Inspector Slade is called in. The book becomes a police procedural as we follow Slade as he interviews subjects and witnesses. Lots of twists and a satisfying conclusion but a little slow and dry for me. Fascinating peice of Golden Age mystery though 3 stars.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Toast

    Blimey, this was an official Arsenal tie in back in the day, with film, board game etc. But, football aside it is actually a cracking little murder mystery. And you don't need to know, understand or even like football to enjoy it. Written in 1939, it might appear prim and perhaps dated but it tells the same old story of men and women since the begining of time. I really enjoyed it but then I love this Golden Age of British Crime Fiction and LG was at the fore front of it. Toast Blimey, this was an official Arsenal tie in back in the day, with film, board game etc. But, football aside it is actually a cracking little murder mystery. And you don't need to know, understand or even like football to enjoy it. Written in 1939, it might appear prim and perhaps dated but it tells the same old story of men and women since the begining of time. I really enjoyed it but then I love this Golden Age of British Crime Fiction and LG was at the fore front of it. Toast

  21. 5 out of 5

    Roddy Williams

    It is 1939 and Arsenal are playing a friendly at their Highbury home against top amateur team Troy. At half time, one of the Trojans has a package delivered. Back on the field, it is not long before the footballer in question, Jack Doyce, collapses and is taken off. The match continues, but Doyce is pronounced dead before the full time whistle is blown. It is not long before murder is suspected and Detective Inspector Slade of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. This is well worth a read, It is 1939 and Arsenal are playing a friendly at their Highbury home against top amateur team Troy. At half time, one of the Trojans has a package delivered. Back on the field, it is not long before the footballer in question, Jack Doyce, collapses and is taken off. The match continues, but Doyce is pronounced dead before the full time whistle is blown. It is not long before murder is suspected and Detective Inspector Slade of Scotland Yard is called in to investigate. This is well worth a read, being an important piece of work for various reasons. It was, for one thing, one of the first exercises in dual mass marketing since it was released as a tie-in with a film of the same name. As in the book, the film features appearances from the then Arsenal manager, George Allison, and the players, which included I am happy to say, the Welsh player Bryn Jones. The original frontispiece contained the facsimile signatures of the manager and all the players. Despite knowing as much about football as I do about the rare lichens of Patagonia, I felt fully drawn in to the world of the game in the late Nineteen Thirties, when many players were semi-professional managing to balance a separate career with their life on the field. We also get a fascinating glimpse of life in the London of 1939, when moral behaviour and the fragility of a reputation was a far cry from the lifestyle and excesses of today's players. Despite its somewhat manufactured nature, this is a well-written piece featuring one of Gribble's regular detectives. It twists and turns, throwing out clues, red herrings and uncovering dark secrets in the lives of some of the protagonists. Highly recommended.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Rating between 2.5 & 3 I found this to be a quick, easy, entertaining read. Nothing too complicated about the plot or characters. Obviously due to the time it was written it could be described as old fashioned but nothing really stood out or slowed the story for me. I was obviously in the mood for this type of story at the moment as I flew through it and really enjoyed the book. I would definitely recommend it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vanessa

    One of the the 3 or 4 titles in this series that was truly awful; not just "this isn't my style so I'm not enjoying it" but for reals bad. I basically sighed and gritted my teeth through the last half, mainly propelled by hatred and petty spite. Did this just punish myself? Yes. I received an ecopy from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. One of the the 3 or 4 titles in this series that was truly awful; not just "this isn't my style so I'm not enjoying it" but for reals bad. I basically sighed and gritted my teeth through the last half, mainly propelled by hatred and petty spite. Did this just punish myself? Yes. I received an ecopy from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    A solid and entertaining mystery novel featuring the famous 1939 Arsenal football team. I really enjoyed the book, and the twists and turns within it kept me guessing throughout. I initially was interested in the book due to the link with Arsenal, but found myself drawn into the story quite easily.

  25. 5 out of 5

    J Grimsey

    I had seen the black and white film and whilst I had enjoyed it I was irritated by the Detective and his hats. I also am not interested in football so thought the milieu might not be to my taste. however, the book was much better than the film and it was a tour de force of the thirties who dun it. If you enjoy football you will really enjoy this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Squeak2017

    An ordinary sort of police procedural. Not clever or particularly well written but competent at moving the story along. My chief complaint was the constant repetition, though this is what found out the murderer - which is more than I did.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Michael Sparrow

    I saw the film version years ago--maybe the best British whodunit movie of the decade and I wondered if the book was an early effort at a novelization, but it's a bit different--the character of the detective is more serious and the book is quite enjoyable on its own. I saw the film version years ago--maybe the best British whodunit movie of the decade and I wondered if the book was an early effort at a novelization, but it's a bit different--the character of the detective is more serious and the book is quite enjoyable on its own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Radley

    This was a damn good sporting murder mystery but as it has some people based or were real, it makes the situation more piquant and yes fascinating. Also murder at a football match on the pitch is a very intriguing crime. It read well and felt very believable.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Puzzle Doctor

    Interesting Golden Age mystery - see the full spoiler-free review at classicmystery.blog

  30. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Slow to start but then I couldn't put it down! Slow to start but then I couldn't put it down!

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