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Wobble To Death
Peter Lovesey
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Wobble To Death (Sergeant Cribb #1)

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  587 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
“A fine case of murder, projected against a compelling historical background.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Don’t miss this.”—Los Angeles Times

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 b

Paperback, 202 pages
Published October 27th 1992 by Arrow Books Ltd (first published 1970)
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Carin It's a "go as you will" race so it's both, whatever the participants feel like doing. BTW, if you want to know more there's a great book on the…moreIt's a "go as you will" race so it's both, whatever the participants feel like doing. BTW, if you want to know more there's a great book on the subject, Pedestrianism by Matthew Algeo.(less)
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DeAnna Knippling
A bunch of endurance walking fanatics in Victorian England have a muder on their hands...and six DAYS of walking left to complete.

Short, sweet, and fun. Almost too many red herrings to be brilliant. But a great, quick, historically interesting, and light mystery read.
Wobble To Death by Peter Lovesey is the first book in his historical mystery series featuring Scotland Yard Sgt Cribb. It is also my first exposure to his writing. It's an interesting premise to say the least.
The story is set in London, 1879 and is centered around a pedestrian race at the Agricultural Hall. From the foreword, these races took place fairly regularly, where groups or walkers would participate in a 6 day race, with the winner being the one who was able to walk the longest distance
Jun 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: period-mystery
Sigh, more sports. Well, at least Lovesey provides a couple corpses.
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
Jul 04, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had never heard of a "wobble" until I read this book, but apparently they were all the rage in Victorian England. A wobble was the term for race walking competitions. Most of them took place on open roads and had distances of 50, 100, or 150 miles or more. The wobble featured in this book was held indoors on a track, lasted from Monday to Saturday, and it was anticipated that the winner would walk at least 500 miles. So one of the wobblers was killed by an excessive amount of strychnine that h ...more
Jul 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A decent murder mystery set in Victorian England among a little known walk-run race called a wobble. Short, sweet and interesting. I shall read more Lovesey
Sports aren't really an interest of mine, though the wobbles sounded interesting as something I hadn't heard about before.

Characters not too well defined either, but as this is the first in a series that may improve later.
Bruce MacBain
[This review originally appeared in Historical Novels Review:]

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
Jill Hutchinson
I have read several of this author's books in the Peter Diamond series but this is the first of his Sergeant Cribb that I have run across. (I faintly remember the Cribb character from a couple of programs on A&E's Mystery series).

Sgt. Cribb is a smart fellow who is paired up with PC Thackery to investigate the death of a "pedestrian". But in the days when this story is set (1879 England) a "pedestrian" was a marathon walker who participated in 6 day long events for prize money. These were si
What's a Wobble? Turns out it is a race-walking competition, and was all the rage in Victorian England. It's the first of Peter Lovesey's Sgt. Cribb's detective series. Walkers must walk around a track for six days; the one walking the greatest distance wins! During the course of this race, there are a couple of murders, a cast of characters, and a variety of motives.

Oh, by the way, the winner walks over 500 miles. But I won't tell you who that is.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The perfect bracing tonic of a mystery to read in a world gone mad.

Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was really...odd. And not convincing.
Pat Camalliere
I had heard a lot of complimentary things about this writer so I came with high expectations. At first I thought I had mistakenly selected a book that wasn’t a mystery, as the first third of the book was exclusively about a grueling foot race. However, eventually a murder occurred and Sergeant Cribbs was called in to solve it. The mystery was okay, Cribbs was okay. I actually liked his assistant better, as he seemed more human and understandable. The most impressive thing turned out to be the fo ...more
Cecilia Jones

I read the book in 2 sittings and all the time hoping the characters would develop more or the arena would be detailed more. I found it difficult at tines to visualize the scene and why certain behaviors were there. The most interesting character for me is the doctor and his quirkiness but he's like a side note. You don't really understand Mrs Darrell's motives or pretty much anything about her husband, Mr Darrell other than he aggressively trained for the race. The rivalry between him and S
Gabi Coatsworth
Well, it's different. There are other Victorian mysteries, but none quite like this, focusing as it does on a murder committed during a walking race designed to last several days, something that was, apparently, all the rage. I gather that the rest of the books on the series are all sports related too, so I may just stick to this author's other contemporary detective hero, Peter Diamond, who works in and around Bath.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read. A police procedural set in Victorian England against the backdrop of a six day pedestrian race aka a wobble. I love the Peter diamond series by this author so I decided to read his debut. Will keep reading the Peter diamond series and will decide later about continuing on with the Victorian sergeant cribb
Scooby Doo
DNF persistent printing errors. Seemed like the print proofs were put into e-book form and left in the hyphenations. Really distracting.
The dialog seemed authentic to 1890's and was difficult to translate into U.S. English.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! If you love Victorian mysteries, then you should definitely read this novel. The basis for one of the first series I saw on PBS Mystery back in the 1980's. Mr. Lovesey nails the period and Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray make a wonderful detective duo.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Lovesey book. It was odd from the start and never let up. I figured that it would be a mind-opening read and I was not disappointed in that respect. Would I read it again? Possibly.
Mary Beth
Picked this book up at a book sale and gave it a go. Whoa how crazy is it to walk/race for six days in a row. Good historical insight. Mystery was ok.

Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is Lovesey’s first mystery, cited in London 1879 at Islington agricultural hall where a six day and night 500 mile speed walking race called the wobble unfolds.
Kat Walter
Interesting period piece involving murder and endurance racing. As if walking/running for 6 days isn't murderous enough.
Celestine Ranney-howes
A quick read. Funny and a look into Victorian society.
Debra B.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was an okay read. I don't understand what the fuss was all about to read the reissued publication of the first of the author's Detective Cribb mysteries. Mildly interesting.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable mystery centered around a 6 day walking race.
Jun 23, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel is first in a series by Peter Lovesey about Sergent Cribb and his partner Thackeray from Scotland Yard. The setting is London, November 1879 in the enormous Agricultural Hall. A contest is getting under way and entrants and the press are shivering in the unheated building waiting for the announcements to start. A "Wobble" or "Go as You Please Contest" is being held starting on Monday and continuing through Saturday. These were instituted by Sir John Astley in March 1878, and became ve ...more
I loved the first Peter Lovesey I read, Another One Goes Tonight, so I thought I wanted to read more of his, and when I saw the first book in his historical mystery series was about pedestrianism, which I read an entire book about last winter, it was a certainty.

It certainly felt authentic. There is plenty of 19th century slang, and the main detective, Sergeant Cribb, has these crazy whiskers that I had to look up to understand. It's interesting to see the footwork that had to go into detecting
D.S. Nelson
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This went on my TBR list when I heard Lovesey talk at The Havant Literary Festival in 2014. I know, a while ago and I really should have read it sooner. It's a classic and the first book Lovesey ever wrote. It won him a competition price of £1000 and launched his career.

An excellent piece of historical crime fiction, the amount of research Lovesey has put into this book is laudable in itself.

We join the journalists, reporting on the soon-to-start wobble or pedestrian race, on the station platfor
Mar 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first in a series of murder mysteries set in Victorian England and featuring Detective Sgt. Cribb, author Peter Lovesey has written a delicious slice of life novel. The murder in this mystery is relatively slight and character development for Sgt. Cribb is almost non-existent, yet I really enjoyed the novel. It worked more for a picture of a bygone time than a true mystery.
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
Anu Korpinen
Wobble to death, suomenettu Sapo-sarjassa nimellä Hoippuen kohti kuolemaa. Loveseyn viktoriaaniseen Englantiin sijoittuva dekkarisarja on ollut pitkään yksi suosikeistani. Sarjasta on olemassa myös TV-sovitus.

Tapahtumat alkavat Islingtonin jättiläishallissa, jossa kuusipäiväiset kävelyjuoksukisat saavat ikävän käänteen kun yksi kisaajista kuolee. Kuolinsyyksi varmistuu myrkytys, ja niin kilpailun järjestäjillä on käsissään murha.

Kirjan parasta antia on elävä ajankuvaus, urheilukisojen alkeellise
Jun 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant Victorian detective story with a twist.
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
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Around the Year i...: Wobble to Death, by Peter Lovesey 3 14 Sep 16, 2016 07:44PM  
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Peter (Harmer) Lovesey (born 1936 in Whitton, Middlesex) is a British writer of historical and contemporary crime novels and short stories. His best-known series characters are Sergeant Cribb, a Victorian-era police detective based in London, and Peter Diamond, a modern-day police detective in Bath. Lovesey's novels and stories mainly fall into the category of entertaining puzzlers in the "Golden ...more
More about Peter Lovesey...

Other Books in the Series

Sergeant Cribb (8 books)
  • The Detective Wore Silk Drawers (Sergeant Cribb, #2)
  • Abracadaver (Sergeant Cribb, #3)
  • Mad Hatter's Holiday
  • Invitation To A Dynamite Party (Sergeant Cribb, #5)
  • A Case Of Spirits (Sergeant Cribb, #6)
  • Swing, Swing Together (Sergeant Cribb, #7)
  • Waxwork (Sergeant Cribb, #8)

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