Wobble to Death


Author : Peter Lovesey

Play : Wobble to Death

First Broadcast on : 5 December 1954

Lovesey puts Cribb and Thackery on the trail of a killer at a long distance walk race. An unusual setting for a murder but then passion and greed aren't very selective emotions. I read this book years ago and just read it again. It is just as good now as it was 15 years ago. Lovesey's attention to detail is excellent - you are fed a lot of information to put the setting into context and you don't even know that you are getting a social history lesson. The charecters are well defined and believeable, from the organizer of the race down to the competitor who fades quickly from the race.
There are lots of suspects and lots of motives and how Cribb and Thackery sort them out is great to read. One gets a tremendously amusing picture of Thackery conducting an interview on the run, as it were, with the competitors in his wool suit, bowler hat and regulation boots - and him not an athletic person. Will Thackery live to receive his police pension annuity in retitrement. Cribb continues as the brains of the team and his determination is prevented from being an obsession, in the readers view, by the unintentional humor he injects, usually at Thackery's expense. Even though at times Thackery gets exasperated with his boss, there is a respect and willingness to serve that keeps the team together.

This is a fine Victorian mystery novel that is a great read from start to finish. I highly recommend it.

By Paul Sayles