Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Cricket and Crime

Cricket is my favourite sport, even ahead of football, and I'm quite sure that no other sport has a comparably impressive literature. There are plentiful connections between cricket and crime fiction - Lord Peter Wimsey's cricketing feats in Murder Must Advertise and the Ted Dexter/Clifford Makins thriller Testkill are just the tip of the iceberg.

J.Jefferson Farjeon, for instance, was a keen cricket fan (he wrote an intro to a cricket book by his brother Herbert) and cricket features recurrently in his crime fiction. This feature of his work is highlighted in an insightful piece about Thirteen Guests in Cricket County

The author of that article, Arunabha Sengupta, is also the author of the recently published, Sherlock Holmes and the Birth of the Ashes, published by Maxbooks, which begins, rather wittily I think, "To Sherlock Holmes, it was always the match".. It's a snappy, well-researched,story, and the humour is a bonus. I should also mention briefly a book I've just received but not had time to read, The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Australia's Jock Serong (Text Publishng), which is described as being in the tradition of Peter Temple.

Finally, and with no connection to crime - except that if you are a cricket fan it would be a crime to miss it! - I'd like to mention In Their Own Words, by Steve Dolman, aka blogger Peakfan (Pitch Publishing). The book gathers together interviews with Derbyshire cricketers over the years, including several of my boyhood heroes, such as Harold Rhodes the most successful wicket-keeper in history, Bob Taylor. and Peter Gibbs, author of that wonderfully entertaining novel Settling the Score. I found it absolutely riveting, and I'll treasure my copy, signed by several of those heroes. And even if you're not a cricket fan, the insight into the everyday lives of county cricketers, especially in the twenty five years or so after the  Second World War, is full of interest.


Dean James said...

Over 30 years ago I read a mystery by Barbara Worsley-Gough called Alibi Innings. Cricket is a huge part of this book. I finished it, though at times it was tough going because of all the cricket which, at the time, meant little to me. I didn't know enough about the game.

Martin Edwards said...

I almost mentioned that book, Dean. I have to say I didn't really rate it as a mystery either!

Anonymous said...

William Rushton wrote W,G, Grace's Last Case or The War of the Worlds Part 2, features W.G. solving a Mysterious Crime at Lords' soon after the Martian invasion.
Adrian Alington's The Great Test Match Crime features a master criminal intent on nobbling the Ashes series and - of course - the most obvious connexion between cricket and crime is the great A.J. Raffles.

Nan said...

I recently bought a book called Cricket Explained by Robert Eastaway. I felt it was time that I try and learn something about this game.

Martin Edwards said...

Anon, thanks. Nan, hope you find it interesting!