Fiction & Biography

SPORT ROUND-UP Football Books

So the World Cup has rolled round again, a i c: Ci '.

month of drunken afternoons, excuses about .) why you’re working late again and general joy at being part of the biggest sporting festival after the Olympics. Albeit from your armchair. And so what if Scotland are not actually there? The real point of the World Cup is to impress your mates in the pub with little known facts about the Saudi Arabian team of 94 who qualified for the second round at their first attempt; or about the lncheon Munhak Stadium in Korea which actually has its own metro system.

The best book for this is The Rough Guide To The World Cup (Penguin £1.99 0.00.) packed with every statistic you need and the low-down on every team playing, from star players to emerging talent. An essential part of the beer, pretzels, wide-screen and armchair package. If you’re still grieving over our heroic failure to qualify, More Than A Match by Stuart Clarke (Ebury £7.99 0.00 ) could lift those blues. It’s a fantastic collection of photographs taking a sideways look at Britain’s football homes, ranging from Morton fans in the post match cold, to a fantastic snapshot of The Kop.

Scotland’s impressive record of qualifying does mean we are held in slightly higher regard than Europe’s minnows, Liechtenstein. Losing all eight of their group matches certainly showed consistency and their centre forward does play in Serie A. Stamping Grounds: Liechtenstein ’5 World Cup Odyssey by Charlie Connelly (Little, Brown £9.99 .00. ) follows this campaign, showing no matter what level you are at there is always someone who will support you.

As much a travelogue of the country as a football expose, it does however feed the need for useless information about useless teams. There is also strange parallels between Scotland’s recent 0-5 triumph over France and Liechtenstein’s narrow 5-0 defeat to Austria which celebrated a new beginning in the principality’s game.

The recent campaign urging the Tartan Army to support England may not have persuaded many fans to change their plans for a wee break in Argentina, Sweden or Nigeria but it did highlight the fact most Scots will know more about the English players’ club teams than they do about their own. Acceptance of this means Colin Shindler and his Fathers, Sons And Football (Headline £6.99

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Still Here Little. Brown $16.99 h b: V 7.1)?) l; bi CO.

Evocative but muddled

96 THE LIST " '.'n:. '

Linda Grant declares herself to be a novelist of the city. And her City is Liverpool. at once one of the most romanticised places in Europe (if not the world) and a location which is so utterly full of its own importance and misery. This kind of centre-of—the- universe ethos led Echo And The Bunnymen motormouth Ian McCulloch to once say that no matter where in the world he was. he knew that there was some kind of connection with his hometown.

In Linda Grant's third novel (though it's her non-fiction works Such as Remind Who /Am Again which have won her the most praise) she aims to eschew the over-seiitimentalised ‘pool times appears hell-bent on cramming of Bleasdale and Bread. Instead. she focuses on a cast of Jews from Gerriiany. America and England as they aim to put the past behind them and step uneasily into the future.

Alix is one of two central characters. a former radical lecturer whose abuse

fimmmfi w . ,. . Even Scotland could beat Liechtenstein

.0. ) shouldn’t stick in the throat.

A celebration of the three footballing generations of the Summerbee family, this book expertly shows the strange emotions that surround being loved and hated by your team’s fans and gives a brilliant insight into what it’s like when it’s your kin being slated.

If you have decided that England is the team for you this World Cup, then Awaydays by Kevin Sampson (Virago £5.99 .00. ) provides a link to your fellow fan of yesteryear. A rite-of-passage tale of a teenage hooligan rampaging with the 705 Tranmere Pack, which takes out anyone in its way. A fantastic tale with a really nasty edge. (Aly Burt)

of contrary students (retarded idiots'l gets her in the news and out of a job. Her German mother has died after a long illness. her final words a plea to get back the factory which the Nazis took away from the family as Kristallnacht smashed its way into the histOry books.

The other is Joseph. an American architect whose regeneration plans for the area not only aim to revive the city but succeed in reawakening Alix's dormant juices. But should she really be messing with a married man when her mum has just croaked’?

Grant certainly writes evocatively about family. sex. and place but at

in too much history. too much backdrop. rather than propelling the story forward. Maybe she should have concentrated on ticklish observations such This Morning's weatherman floating in the Albert Dock.

(Brian Donaldson)

Shelf life

Classic novels revisited. This issue: The Body In The Library

Published 60 years ago. What’s the story This was the first of the long series of ClaSSIC mysteries that Agatha Christie wrote in the 19408. featuring spinster detective Miss Marple. The discovery of a y0ung. glamorously attired (and dead) platinum blonde on the hearthrug in Colonel Bantry's library sets the tongues clacking and the Curtains twitching in the small village of St Mary Mead. The trail of clues eventually leads the inept police force to a Stylish seaside hotel wherein reside the usual kaleidoscope of suspects. Luckily. Mrs Bantry has enlisted the aid of Miss Marple. whose taste for a red herring leads to the unmasking of Our killer.

What the critics said 'Christie is the acknowledged Queen of detective fiction the world over.‘ raved the Observer.

Key moment When the motive for the murders is discovered to be what else? financial. a trap is laid for the perpetrator. Wheelcltair-b0und millionaire Conway Jefferson announces that he :s to change his Will. That night. the killer creeps into his bedroom armed with a strychnine-filled syringe. only to discover half the police force and Miss Marple lying in wait.

Postscript While Christie's novel is now probably considered the definitive example of the ‘body in the library detect've st0ry. the author's original intention was to Subver‘. that literary cliche. by plaCing a ‘v-iildly improbable and highly sensational body” in an ‘orthodox and conventional library'

First line test 'Mrs Bantry was dreaming'

(Allan Radcliffei