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MURDER AT THE SUPER BOWL by Fran with Herb Resnicow Tarkenton



Pub Date: Oct. 17th, 1986
Publisher: Morrow

Timed to tie in with Super Bowl fever,"" this mystery may have some marketing potential: ""concept by Bill Adler,"" a 100,000 printing, the Tarkenton byline. But readers taken in by the sales-pitch will find themselves stuck in the huddle with a flat, talky super-dud. The murder victim is nasty old tyrant ""Magic"" Madjeski, much-hated Head Coach of the Brooklyn Wizards, an unlikely, lightweight entry in this year's N.Y.C. Super Bowl--against the far heftier Oregon Orcas. Whodunit? That's the question for restless, smart-alecky sportswriter Marc Burr. (He wants to be an investigative reporter.) So, as Super Sunday approaches, Marc is chatting at length with each of the suspects: the Wizards' quarterback, whom the Coach was about to fire; the team's assistant coaches; the Orcas' coach, who had a longstanding feud with Madjeski--as well as some nefarious betting schemes for the big game; etc. None of the many motives here is particularly convincing. The portrait of contemporary football seems bland and artificial--especially in contrast, most recently, to Jonathan Valin's strong football-mystery, Life's Work. Aside from a detailed play-by-play of the Wizards/Orcas game, in fact, one suspects that ex-pro Tarkenton's input here may have been minimal. And the novel's only real zest comes in the byplay between reporter Burr and his surly editor. A likely gift-item for football fans, then, but one that will probably be little read and only sporadically enjoyed.