King of the boards –The life and times of Jimmy Murphy



By Gary Doyle (tel: 00 1 602 636 0471)
Published by Gary Doyle, $90

Behind the rather uninspiring cover lies a self-published gem that really should be on your shelves.

This labour of love was triggered by a distant connection to the subject — Murphy lived with the author’s grandma after he had been orphaned by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake — and Doyle has gone to town, unearthing a welter of primary sources that add new knowledge and correct misconceptions.

Murphy was the best American racer in the ‘Golden Era’ of the early 1920s, winning 18 of the 50 races he contested on the fabulous board tracks of that time. He also won the French GP of 1921 and the ’22 Indy 500.

Revered by a country falling deeply in love with the automobile, his funeral (he was killed in 1924) was akin to that of a movie star. This book is a more than fitting tribute. PF