There Ain’t No Justice by James Curtis
Tommy Mutch is a working-class lad from the slums of West London, eager to escape the mean streets of Notting Dale. He gives most of his earned money to his mother, shares a room with his brother, attempts to help his single sister who is pregnant, and falls in love with a prostitute who he promises to save. Boxing is in its 1930s heyday and, like many in his position, Tommy sees it as an escape route from poverty. Father-like Harry and dodgy manager Sammy are in his corner.
As a ‘preliminary’ boy on the verge of making the breakthrough this is more than just a dream, but he hasn’t bargained for the obstacles he has to face outside the ring – crooked promoters, hucksters, pimps, small-time gangsters. Tommy has strong morals and a fierce sense of justice, but these are about to be put to the test.
As with all of James Curtis’ fiction there is another level to the story. While he captures the blood, sweat and tears of the sport, he also sets about questioning if it is right this should be the only way Tommy can emerge from the ranks of the downtrodden. Tommy’s inherent decency runs through the narrative, but he has been sucked into a world where losers are winners, and winners often lose out. Turned into a successful film, There Ain’t No Justice is raw, sad and exciting, but ultimately the uplifting story of a good family man battling hard times in pre-war London.