The magic of the cup

27 04 2019

How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup by J L Carr

 

 

‘But is this story believable? Ah, it all depends upon whether you want it to believe it.’ J.L. Carr

 

In their new all-buttercup-yellow-stripe, Steeple Sinderby Wanderers, who usually feel lucky when their pitch is above water-level, are England’s most obscure team. This uncategorizable, surreal and extremely funny novel is the story of how they start the season by ravaging the Fenland League and end it by going all the way to Wembley.

Told through unreliable recollection, florid local newspaper coverage and bizarre committee minutes, How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the F.A. Cup is both entertaining and moving. There will never be players again like Alex Slingsby, Sid ‘the Shooting Star’ Swift and the immortal milkman-turned-goalkeeper, Monkey Tonks.

 

It’s a fantastic yarn about how a team from nowhere wins the FA Cup. A highly entertaining tale which has humour, pathos and really embodies what used to be the magic of the FA Cup. It’s a timeless read and highly recommended. The story, although published in 1975, also reminded me of┬áthe Miracle Of Castel Di Sangro by Joe McGinnis from many years later about how a small team from a tiny town in Abruzzi made it to the top of Serie A in Italy. Wanderers perhaps have a little less of the glamour but they do have all the heart.

 

 





Crimes in space

13 04 2019

Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre

 

“This is as close to a city without crime as mankind has ever seen.”
Ciudad de Cielo is the ‘city in the sky’, a space station where hundreds of scientists and engineers work in earth’s orbit, building the colony ship that will one day take humanity to the stars.
When a mutilated body is found on the CdC, the eyes of the world are watching. Top-of the-class investigator, Alice Blake, is sent from Earth to team up with CdC’s Freeman – a jaded cop with more reason than most to distrust such planetside interference.
As the death toll climbs and factions aboard the station become more and more fractious, Freeman and Blake will discover clues to a conspiracy that threatens not only their own lives, but the future of humanity itself.

I think this is Brookmyre’s first off-planet science fiction outing and it’s as gripping and entertaining as his more down to earth offerings. There are plenty of twists and turns in the low gravity plotting as well as some decent characters and credible future society politicking. Great fun and games and many a murder to solve and conspiracy to unravel in space.

 








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