It’s the first day of Wimbledon. And a dead body is lying on Court 19. Newly-promoted detective inspector Angela Costello recognizes the dead man as Croatian champion-turned-coach, Petar Belic. A double grand-slam winner, Petar was famous, and much loved. However, Petar had an ex-wife who wanted him back; a girlfriend who wouldn’t let him go; a business partner with secrets. Then there was the temperamental leading Brit, Stewart Bickerstaff, whom Petar had been coaching. D.I. Costello deduces that only one person could have committed the crime. Unfortunately she has no way of proving her suspicions…
Game, Set and Murder was quietly released back in October, but a Christian novel set at Wimbledon? This tennis fan couldn’t resist. There’s an Eastern European former tennis champion turned coach to a top British player. That sounded familiar. However, that’s where the similarities with Andy Murray end. Young Stewart isn’t even in the top 100 on tour, never mind the top 10, and his parents are firmly in control of his career. He’s also a bit of a party boy and isn’t in a long term relationship.
This is Elizabeth Flynn’s debut novel and it follows standard procedural lines. The author is British, which means the language used is British English. I didn’t notice any faults in that regard, which is something that often bugs me when an American writer attempts to use it. There are, however, some glaring inaccuracies regarding the tennis. For example, there is a description of a fifth-set tie break at Wimbledon when there actually isn’t one. If there was, there wouldn’t have been a record-breaking 70-68 fifth-set back in 2010! It’s also a bit far-fetched for British tennis fans to believe that two British players ranked lower than 100 to progress beyond the first round, that’s if they’re given a wild card to get into the event because they probably wouldn’t get in otherwise!
Despite these issues, Game, Set and Murder is an entertaining tale. It moves at a good pace and does make you want to know the identity of the murderer. The characters are interesting with individual personalities, and the interactions between them are enjoyable. Not everyone gets along, and Costello – recently promoted – doesn’t breeze through her first assignment in charge of the team.
While I was reading this book, word came that Andy Murray had split with his own Eastern European coach. It was definitely interesting timing, but I don’t think we’re going to find Ivan Lendl’s body on Court 19 any time soon!
Thank you to Lion Hudson for my complimentary electronic copy of Game, Set and Murder, which I downloaded from NetGalley. No review was required.
Have you read Game, Set and Murder? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Publication Date: 18 October 2013
Page Count: 272
Read more on: Lion Hudson’s Website