What ever happened to sports-related crime fiction?
The review calls Giallo su Giallo, among other things, a diverting immersion in the cyclists' world and a gastronomic guide to France. When the killing starts, Inspector Magrite turns up to investigate. One assumes, with a surreal name like that, that author Gianni Mura has a sense of humor, too. (Would an inspector named Magrite puff on a Ceci n'est pas une pipe?)
Andrea posted his review nine days before the 2007 Tour began. That race, of course, turned into a doped-up scandal on wheels, which may have put the Italian reading public in a mood for cycling-related crime. Here in North America, though, crime readers and publishers have lost their appetite for sports. Horseracing tracks and boxing rings were once archetypal settings for crime fiction and movies. Then governments got in on the game with state lotteries and robbed gambling of much of its forbidden glamour. Outside of Dick Francis, Stephen Dobyns and Harlan Coben, I can think of no crime writers who still regularly use sports as a setting.
Why is this? Why have the Italian soccer bribery scandals, the proliferation of Olympic doping, the expenditures of billions on sports betting and television rights everywhere, the defections of Cuban baseball players, the shameful treatment of older retired football players and other such scandals not generated crime fiction? Or have I missed it?
So readers, what sports settings have generated crime stories — or should have?
N.B. Giallo su giallo means yellow on yellow. Crime stories are known in Italian as gialli, or "yellows," singular form giallo. Yellow is also the color of the leader's jersey in the Tour de France.
© Peter Rozovsky 2007
Italian crime fiction