Troubador Spurious Games

Released: 28/07/2020

ISBN: 9781838593537

Format: Hardback

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Spurious Games

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A local chess player is discovered dead, his untimely end seeming suspicious. Detective Inspector John Logos of Cornwall’s St Borstal Constabulary is called in to investigate what turns out to be a serial killer running amok in the sedate contemplative world of Cornish chess. The detectives quickly find themselves as pawns in the game of an arrogant mastermind calling himself ‘The Turk’ who taunts them with chess-related clues. Baffled, they call in Caradoc Pritchard, an eccentric Welsh Professor, serial iconoclast and expert in forensic profiling. Together they must work against the clock to predict the killer’s next move.


As the action comes to a dramatic climax only one player can win, but only if he avoids stalemate.

A literary novel of ideas masquerading as a whodunit, Spurious Games exhibits a consistently droll sense of humour that belies its essential seriousness as an extended riff on authenticity. Despite its roots in chess, there are a number of important ‘side shows’, all treated with equal ironic irreverence.

I liked this book, but then I'm biased seeing as philosophy and chess are two big things in my life!
Being objective there's a lot of sly humour in this work, and the thought provoking philosophical digressions and chess conundrums are why I'll read it again.
There is a plot for people who like that sort of thing but I stress this is not a conventional detective novel. [Usually not my sort of thing either despite my godfather writing the popular Wycliffe series] I hope David can be persuaded to write a sequel but he's put a lot of ideas and energy into this first detective novel. [Sure he has plenty of other friends to dispose of !]
Does remind me of other favoured writers, Rabelais, Moorcock and maybe even beloved Milligan.

by J Menadue


An intriguing storyline that makes you want to keep reading.
It certainly makes you look at chess in a different way.

by Kayt Boyles


Unusually well-written in a fluent and amusing style, Spurious Games is many sided: an affectionate satire on Cornwall Chess; a murder mystery in which the detectives are taunted with chess-related clues; and a critique of some unhinged aspects of contemporary culture, particularly around End-of-Days belief systems. The eccentric cast of characters is recognisably based to some extent on real people although fictionalised, to the extent that one or two were a little miffed. But not me. What you need to know is that I appear in splendid form from page 41, which has given me considerable local celebrity. A source of potential bias? I don’t think so. You will love this brilliant and clever novel too.
Jummy Speaking

by Jummy Speaking


Seriously entertaining. Authenticity is a great topic for exploration (‘All that glitters …’), but why bury it in a whodunnit? The wide-ranging cruise of Spurious Games docks at many exotic ports, but I was too busy looking for Detective Inspector John Logan’s checkmate. Would readers think it a spoiler alert if I flag this fiction as faux, deceit, phantasmagoria, even rip-off? In the guise of murder mystery, David Jenkins has put the spotlight relentlessly on validity, spoof, falsification and artificiality—all while entertaining us with the narratives of a Cornish police force.
I quite liked the ambiguous ending and don't want clever clogs readers to solve it for me and tidy up the mess.
Professor Robert Stake
University of Illinois



by Robert Stake


Wiity and brilliant
Totally enjoyable reading - clever, entertaining, one of a kind.

by Birdfeeder


Unusually well written in a fluent and amusing style, Spurious Games is many sided: an affectionate satire on Cornwall Chess; a murder mystery in which the detectives are taunted with chess-related clues; and a critique of some unhinged aspects of contemporary culture, particularly focussed around End-of-Days belief systems. The eccentric cast of characters is recognisably based to some extent on real people although fictionalised, to the extent that one or two were a little miffed. But not me. What you need to know is that I appear in splendid form from page 41, which has given me considerable local celebrity. A source of potential bias? I don’t think so. You will love this brilliant and clever novel too.
Jummy

by Jummy Speaking


Witty and brilliant
Totally enjoyable reading - clever, entertaining, one of a kind.

by Birdfeeder


Witty and brilliant
Totally enjoyable reading - clever, entertaining, one of a kind.

by Birdfeeder


As somebody who has never come close to understanding the game of Chess, I was pleasantly surprised by how accessible and readable "Spurious Games" proved to be. I was also relieved to find myself laughing from time to time as I read it, because laughter and chess had never come together for me before either - humiliation and rage from time to time, but never until now laughter. Clever, wry and warm hearted , "Spurious Games" delivers a unique voice and vision.

by Gwynn Pritchard


David Jenkins

David Jenkins is a retired Professor who has occupied a variety of chairs including at the University of Warwick (Arts Education) and the University of the South Pacific (Education and Psychology). He is a keen chess player who when a lot younger played for Fiji in the 1994 Moscow Chess Olympiad, a memorable experience, although not quite the honour it sounds (think Eddy the Eagle). His main claim to fame is as a qualitative evaluator of social programs. His report on the pan-European training program for youth leaders usng non-formal methods (TALE) was named as the 2011 'Outstanding Evaluation of the Year' by the American Evaluation Association ('I Could a TALE Unfold').

David is a painter and regular cartoonist, currently living in Cornwall where he is President of the Cornwall Chess Association. Although widely published as an academic, at the Open University and elsewhere, Spurious Games is his first novel.

David has designed an informative website in support of his novel Spurious Games with the domain name spuriousgames.org It includes excerpts, a gallery of images and comments around the themes of the novel as well as other writings.

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