Comic Review: Murder Mile

I love a good murder mystery but its not often you get to see one with a forward by an athlete. In this case it is Steve Ovett, the British middle distance runner and Olympic Gold medallist who holds the UK record for 2 miles. It may seem like an odd choice until you realise that this story is written by Paul Collicutt, who is himself a middle distance runner and track enthusiast. He has set his story in the 50’s in and around the battle to achieve the four minute mile.

The art is a sumptuous water coloured feast. If you ever needed artwork to set up a period atmosphere so perfectly then this it. You are placed quite definitely in the world of the trilby wearing, diner frequenting detective of the time. From Paul’s depiction of diners to a scene in the cinema you are immersed. The cinema scene in particular is a lovely moment where you can almost feel the flickering of the screen as the protagonist takes some time out to watch a race on the big screen. Unavoidably some of the action scenes can feel a little stactic but this comes nowhere near to spoiling the story.

The story itself centres around the murder of a local athlete, Tom “the Phoenix Flyer” Naylor. Daniel Stone a PI, war veteran and ex runner is hired to investigate. The chief murder suspect is Naylors coach, Carlton. Coach Carlton is an old army buddy of Stones, and a lovely dynamic is set up between them where despite their shared history a nice edge of suspicion is created.

What’s wonderful about this story is the flavour of the real nitty gritty of a detectives procedure, both the leg and paperwork.  This serves to anchor it quite firmly in reality amidst the noir flavour of the PI and his gal that we are used to.

There is a lot of factual information in this story and although some of it is presented in a quite original ways, if athletics is not your thing, it runs the risk of pulling you out of the story, as it did for me a little bit. Alternatively it may just send you to youtube and Wikipedia to explore the true elements of the story or to watch the actual races referred to in the text. Despite this it is telling the tale of a pivotal bit of sporting history and does a decent job of balancing it with a good bit of fiction.

Paul Collicutt has created a well crafted detective story with lovely art and loads of easter eggs for running fans. A job well done and another lovely edition from Self-Made Heroes Publishing.

Reporter: Monts

Rating: 4/5

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