Sunday, February 5, 2012


This is written by Booker Prize winner Julian Barnes under his pseudonym Dan Kavanagh.

The hero is a very low key bi-sexual ex-policeman "Duffy" who is hired by the manager of a struggling third division football club to look into who is nobbling his best players.   Loosing these players seems to ensure that club will be relegated in the black hole of fourth division football and total obscurity.

As a mystery it is all very low key with a broken ankle being the most violent incident in the book so if you desire a high body count in your reading its probably not for you.

What it is, is wickedly funny.   Duffy is a natural worrier, he worries about everything, his big one is contracting AIDS, he worries about being the goalie for his local pub football side  and he worries about his relationship with policewoman 'Carol' who he has a chaste relationship with, they sleep together but its very chaste.  He's not stupid though and does what he is hired to do. 

I have read various books written by Booker Prize winners and have always struggled to understand them but with this book Kavanagh ( Barnes ) has written something that's very simple, with brilliant dialogue and excellent entertainment.

The Duffy books are very difficult to get hold of as they were written mid- eighties and are out of print. They are totally unattainable in New Zealand but fortunately US readers re-cycle their books through second hand stores and I have located three of the four written through this network.

Well worth the effort if you like a quirky read. This one reminded me of a Joe Sexsmith mystery written by the recently departed Reginald Hill,  this will have been written first  just that I read the Hill books first.   Great stuff.   (Published 1985 )

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