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Sunday 17 January 2016

'False Nine' by Philip Kerr

Published by Head of Zeus,
5 November 2015.
ISBN 9781784971724

Football is the raison d'etre here and Philip Kerr is obviously a fan of the game.  Like Dick Francis with horse racing he weaves his mystery into a background that he knows and loves - the beautiful game.  His depictions of Paris, Shanghai and the Caribbean are very evocative especially within the rarified wealth of football.   Not that Philip Kerr is uncritical of footballing wealth and excesses!

Scott Manson, our protagonist is a British black football manager who is unemployed.  Don't visualise him as poor and debt ridden, though; he has a wealthy background and is clever and cultured, with the ability to speak several languages fluently.  He is very attractive to women.  He did have some hard experiences such as a period in jail after a rape accusation.

Scott is employed to find a Barcelona player who is valuable to the club and has gone missing on a holiday to Antigua.  The footballer in question actually comes from Guadeloupe very near to Antigua.   Scott is an interesting investigator and his search, combined with other issues that he deals with, makes an exciting mystery.

I am not a football fan and therefore I felt that a lot of clever comment on football went over my head; some comments about it I could follow but a real fan of soccer would get a great deal more out of a cleverly wrought book.  One other comment - the book is described on the title page as a thriller but I would not say that describes it well.  It is a book about a private investigator investigating a mystery steeped in professional football - even the title is a football reference.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
This is the second book in the Scott Manson series.  Philip  Kerr has also written the Bernie Gunther series and a number of stand alone mysteries.

Philip Kerr  was born 22 February 1956 in Edinburgh. He was educated at Stewart’s Melville College and at a grammar school in Northampton. He studied at the University of Birmingham from 1974 to 1980, gaining a master's degree in law and philosophy. Kerr worked as an advertising copywriter for Saatchi and Saatchi before becoming a full-time writer in 1989. A writer of both adult fiction and non-fiction, he is known for the Bernie Gunther series of historical thrillers set in Germany and elsewhere during the 1930s, the Second World War and the Cold War. He has also written children's books under the name P.B. Kerr, including the Children of the Lamp series. Kerr has written for The Sunday Times, the Evening Standard and the New Statesman. He is married to fellow novelist Jane Thynne; the two live in Wimbledon, London and have three children. He is a life-long supporter of Arsenal.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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