The Arsenal Stadium Mystery by Leonard Gribble
I know what you are thinking, it is not a new book to review. It is the return of the book reviews section on the blog. GCR books do an outstanding service in reprinting historic Arsenal books. This week will see original reviews re-posted and then appearing on their own page.
For those who do not know, the story is set against the backdrop of a fictional match between Arsenal and an amateur team called The Trojans. As Mick Jones sang, ‘Somebody Got Murdered‘ and Inspector Slade is called in to save the day, which he duly does. Or rather, solve the case, for it would not be much of a ‘whodunnit’ if you were still wondering the identity of the culprit at the end of the book.
Set eighty years ago, it is almost inconceivable that such a book could be written in today’s football climate with the natural suspicion that clubs, players, managers and staff hold the media. If Gribble did not have access behind the scenes, he possessed an astute eye for observing characters, descriptions of the playing staff and their personalities entirely plausible.
Where the book excels in football literature is capturing the emotions surrounding the game, both on and off the pitch. Anyone who stood on terraces at Highbury will relate entirely to Gribble’s depiction of the stadium emptying and queues for the tube station.
Compared to today’s crime writing, the absence of car chases, swearing and sex scenes is a refreshing change. It concentrates purely on the crime, characters and their lives. Even so, the pace is consistent throughout and an enjoyable read it is too.
GCR Books are looking at other Arsenal titles so let us hope that they are able to reprint those as a decent job has been made of this one. The Arsenal Stadium Mystery can be purchased directly from GCR Books and with Christmas around the corner, a recommended stocking filler for all.