Wobble To Death (Sergeant Cribb #1)
In 1879, race walking competitions, known as "wobbles," were all the rage. The death of a contender, followed by a second murder, introduces Sergeant Cribb, who goes on to investigate sports-related deaths in a series of eight books.
This novel is set in the Agricultural Hall, Islington, in 1879, where a bizarre six-day endurance race takes place. “Wobbles” became popular o
It is a cold November morning in 1879 and a dozen ‘pedestrians’ in silk drawers and white tights gather at the Agricultural Hall in Islington, a structure so vast that it contains its own fog. The occasion is a ‘wobble’—a grueling six-day marathon race. This is the setting of Peter Lovesey’s first Victorian mystery, now reissued.
The competitors are rough working-class types except for Captain Chadwick, ex Guards officer and the favo...more
Phew, I never noticed what the women were like in this when I read these decades ago! Mrs. Darrell was one hot number! I suppose it's playing against the Victorian stereotype.
Pedestrian races were apparently very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries. The one in this story is a six-day walk/run with a substantial prize for the winner - not to mention all the side-bets. Captain Chadwick is only persuaded to take part if he and...more
Imagine a race where you run for six days. You set your own pace and decide when you eat and sleep but you must keep pac...more
The scene is set at a sporting event for the Champion pedestrian of the world, a week long walking event with big cash prizes and recognition for the entrants.
Things go smoothly until suddenly there is a random death among the competitors.
Charles Darrell's death is at first put down to him running barefoot and contracting Tetanus but what finally emerges is a suspicion of murder.
Tensions rise amongst the rest of the pedestrians as they ponder wh...more
The setting of these books is always interesting. The last on...more
Gosh, what an awful competition! Walking in the cold, fog, smelly gas fumes (their means of lightening) amongst the audience's tobacco smoke for 6 long grueling days sounds like the most boring and torturous sport ever to me, even if the winnings is money.
It took me a while to get into the book, but it was wr...more
And who knew that a "wobble" was a six day pedestrian race?
And who knew that Piccadilly Weepers were another term for mutton-chops?
Lovesey evokes Victorian England fairly well for someone who has read a lot of Dickens and Doyle but I would have enjoyed more of a portrait of the time.
Anachronistic dialogue, but genuine Victorian dialogue, especially in a Victorian sports milieu, would have made for very slow reading.
Very enjoyable mystery.