Murder On The Darts Board, by Justin Irwin

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The Independent Culture

Writer competes against professional sportsmen and discovers that while it's not as easy as it looks, it can yield a good yarn. The genre, invented by George Plimpton in 1960 with his baseball book 'Out Of My League', has a welcome new addition from Justin Irwin, who quit his job as the director of a national charity to spend a year discovering whether hard work alone can make him a great darts player. Practising for hours every day, he builds up to entering the PDC World Championship, where he is unlucky to draw a former quarter-finalist in the first round. Despite throwing a maximum 180 in one leg he is predictably whitewashed 5-0, but that, one suspects, is what his readers want; after all, if it was easy, they might regret not having had a go themselves. Irwin chronicles his "journey to the heart of dartness" – and darkness, in the form of oceans of Guinness – with humour and perception. He may have been found wanting on the oche but he's hit the bull's-eye here.

Published by Portico Books in paperback, £9.99