It’s the first day of the tennis tournament at Wimbledon. And a dead body is lying on court nineteen. Newly-promoted detective inspector Angela Costello recognizes the dead man as the Croatian champion-turned-coach, Petar Belic. Double grand-slam winner, Petar was one of the best-known and best loved players of the modern era. Petar had a complicated life: an ex-wife who wanted him back; a girlfriend who didn’t want to let him go; a business partner with secrets. Then there was leading Brit Stewart Bickerstaff, not universally popular with his fellow players, whom Petar had been coaching. Little by little DI Costello, despite awkward and prickly colleagues, discerns a trail through the mass of information. Unfortunately she has no way of proving her suspicions. But a prime suspect has overlooked a vital detail …
If you haven’t noticed, I’m a massive tennis fan. ‘Oh but it’s so boring’ I hear you cry…err no, you are wrong! And strangely enough this debut crime novel by Elizabeth Flynn evoked in me that same thrill and anxiousness I get when watching an epic tennis match which makes me able to say just that..you are wrong. :p
Game, Set and Murder, as you’d imagine starts with a murder. We are instantly thrust into the mystery surrounding the body of tennis coach Petar Belic found dead on court 19 on the very first day of The Wimbledon Championships. Our protagonist, Angela ‘DI’ Costello is an intelligent, caring Detective in charge of running her very first murder case.
Costello is also a big tennis fan, which gives her an extra advantage in that she already has knowledge of the players and close affiliates, and she’s able to use the tennis-loving angle to get them all to open up and spill the locker-room gossip. However, she also has a hell of a lot to prove.
I absolutely loved this book. It’s a quick, easy read that has all the elements of a good traditional ‘cozy’ Detective Story. Despite not reading much of the genre lately, I’m a big fan of Crime Fiction, especially the simple structure of a closed circle mystery.
Game, Set and Murder is a classic closed circle mystery in some ways, although the circle of suspects is perhaps a little larger than usual and instead of a rambling mansion, the location is of course the Wimbledon Tennis club. One murder, one location, a bunch of suspects and one piece of the puzzle fed to us at a time until the big reveal.
It wasn’t the most exciting crime story I’ve read, but the pace was fast and the characters were interesting and suspicious in equal measure, making it an enjoyable read.
I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Costello and her husband, the Coroner. They were perfectly written, portraying a realistic, loving couple that gave the story a good grounding away from the investigation. And, being a tennis fan, I’ve been to Wimbledon numerous times and those details were pretty faultless.
Despite the fact that a murder had just taken place, this book made me want to head straight to Wimbledon. Elizabeth Flynn totally nailed the excitement and beauty of the place during those two weeks in midsummer, but I’m not sure if non-tennis fans would enjoy this as much. It’d still be enjoyable as a crime novel i’m sure, but perhaps not as captivating.
Disclosure: I received an advanced copy from the Publisher/Author in exchange for an HONEST review. Many Thanks!
Title: Game, Set and Murder
Author: Elizabeth Flynn
Details: Paperback, 272 pages
Publication Date: Published October 18th 2013 by Lion Fiction
My Rating: 4/5
If you liked this try: A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton