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The January Window/Philip Kerr


Football is not especially well served by literature. The best is probably The Damned United by David Peace on Brian Clough’s reign at Leeds United. Hunter Davies broke new ground when he wrote a revealing account of Tottenham in The Glory Game. Whether it’s fact or fiction or in the case of Peace a combination of the two the tendency is to write on existing personalities not to invent them. Philip Kerr follows the same trend in this book on modern day football.

Readers may be familiar with his Bernie Gunther Berlin Noir series of novels. This was a brave attempt to portray his detective as a good German at the time of the Nazis though after the first series of three known as the March Violets he set a few after the War. He has talent for the twists and turns of the best detective writing with forensic investigation. This talent he takes into the January Window where his anti hero detective Scott Manson is the coach of London City a club that bears fictional resemblance to Chelsea. It is Scott who investigates the murder of their Portuguese manager Zarco Gonzales. Kerr knows his football, he is an Arsenal fan, and has some interesting insight and detail on present day football, which emerges as less beautiful game more warts and all.

I may be wrong as I don’t know the man and have never heard him interviewed but I have the feeling that he is a commercial writer and sees readership appeal in a detective in the football world. I see nothing to be ashamed if his ambition is to earn well from his writing but at his best in the Berlin Noir he was an accomplished author whereas in the Scott Manson character (he has already set up a sequel) he has like the best strikers an eye for an opportunity.

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About Rex Mitchell

Rex Mitchell is a Brentford supporter from childhood. This has not prevented him having a distinguished Fleet Street career as a sports reporter and later deputy football editor. A widower, Rex is a bit of a bandit golfer off his official handicap of 20 and is currently chairman of his local bowls club. More Posts