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    Mentions of Cricket in Legendary Books You Didn’t Know About
Mentions of Cricket in Legendary Books You Didn’t Know About
Bookcase. Source: Midjourney

Mentions of Cricket in Legendary Books You Didn’t Know About

Cricket is a game that is loved all over the world. Songs are dedicated to it, and educational and entertaining videos are made. And, of course, many references to cricket can be found in classic literature. In this article, we offer you the opportunity to dive into the classics and find out which authors mentioned cricket and even dedicated whole books to this game.

In Death at Half Term (1939; sometimes called Curtain Call for a Corpse, 1965), a spooky murder, school plays, and cricket are all interwoven topics that Josephine Bell examines. Clifford Witting's A Bullet for Rhino (1950) is set in an English school where the "Old Boys' Celebration" is mainly centered around cricket. An additional tradition is the yearly parents' game, which is based on Nicholas Blake's A Question of Proof (1935) and pits the fathers of the students against each other in a competition. The headmaster decides that it is inappropriate to cancel the match, despite the fact that a student was strangled right before the game. This decision is made after taking into consideration what is in the best interests of the school. There are, however, parents who take their responsibilities extremely seriously. For instance, "Major Fairweather at square leg made an impressive catch, stopping a shot that any sensible father would have let go to the boundary." Another horrible murder brings an end to the game that was captivating and exciting.

“Death Before the Wicket” Combines Different Sports in One Piece of Writing

There is also a rite shown in the girls' school in Nancy Spain's novel Death Before Wicket (1946), which was written in 1946. An annual tournament pits a group of student fathers against the first eleven students in the school. The competition is intended to be amicable. The fielding practice that the girls had before the game is detailed in great detail, but other than that, there is not much else to say about this competition. As was the case with earlier authors from England, such as Herbert Adams, Helen Simpson, and John Creasey, Miss Spain skilfully incorporates a variety of sports into a single piece of writing. In the beginning, she gives a beautiful account of a steeplechase competition for women that took place at a picturesque county track. After that, she moved on to a lacrosse match that took place in Brighton with the same level of understanding. In the period that follows, she engages in a few rounds of golf and tennis before making her way to another cricket match.

Nancy Spain's novel Death Before Wicket (1946). Source: eBay and AI
Nancy Spain's novel Death Before Wicket (1946). Source: eBay and AI

Night of the Twelfth Makes You Think about Life

The Night of the Twelfth, which was written by Michael Gilbert in 1976, is filled with relevant comparisons to cricket and has a superbly depicted match between a prep school and a professional cricket team. Additionally, the Israeli envoy to England pays a visit to his child at Trenchard House Preparatory School despite the fact that he is frequently the target of terrorist attacks. While he is watching the cricket match, he is curious about the meaning of this carefree and enjoyable habit since it does not appear to have any proof or practical use. Can you explain to me why that took place? In other words, is it an attempt to avoid being startled by reality, or is it a rejection of reality? Is there a lack of effort or a lack of logic going on here?

The Game Played in the Dark Compares Cricket to Law and Order

In the novel "The Game Played in the Dark" by Ernest Bramah, the blind investigator comes up with an interesting comparison that involves cricket. "The ongoing battle between the Law and the Criminal has occasionally struck me as resembling a game of cricket, inspector.", "the realm of law; the criminal on the margins of society". When Law makes a mistake, such as losing the ball or failing to catch it, the criminal either earns a slight advantage or gets another opportunity to play. This takes place at the discretion of the Criminal. However, if he makes a mistake, such as allowing a direct pitch to slide through his hands or striking a calm player, his chances of success are considerably diminished. In contrast to the Law's flaws, which are just transitory and simple to rectify, his mistakes are devastating.

"The Game Played in the Dark" by Ernest Bramah. Source: Amazon and AI
"The Game Played in the Dark" by Ernest Bramah. Source: Amazon and AI

Test matches are international cricket competitions that last for five days and offer the opportunity for the finest players from England and other countries that were formerly a part of the British Empire to compete against one another for the right to represent their respective nations. A number of novels, including The Test Match Mystery (1941) by Hal Pink, The Test Match Murder (1948) by Denzil Batchelor, and Test Match Murder (1936) by Denzil Batchelor, have utilised these events as a setting. These novels are only a few examples. "Test Match Murder" is a novel written by Julian Symons that follows a cricket enthusiast named Francis Quarles as he becomes involved in the investigation of a poisoning incident that takes place during the usual tea break of the England vs Australia match. Charlie Bowerman, the umpire, who is generally loathed, is the unlucky victim in this situation.

In Testkill (1976), a novel that was solely distributed in the UK, England and Australia once again compete in a Test Match at Lord's. Thankfully, American cricket expert Jon L. Breen pointed out that the book has a lot of cricket-related details that newcomers to the Sport would find bewildering. As an example from the book, he showed how "Hunt applied the heat, summoning the presence of a fielder at third man and offering a daringly close silly mid-on." Like Dexter, the story is told through the eyes of Jack Stenton, who has left his profession as a cricketer to become a journalist. A terrible crime occurs throughout the game, and it becomes clear that one of the players must be the one who committed it. Breen found it hard to believe since the characters lacked empathy, and the ending was accomplished covertly. Some speculated that the killer's insanity was a driving factor.

John Creasey, a fervent supporter of cricket, looked at the players and referred to them as "the champions of the most magnificent sport." Within the pages of his novel "A Six for the Toff," which was published in 1955, he eloquently depicts a large crowd that is making its way to London's Oval in order to witness the cricket match between England and Australia. Regardless of the circumstances, the Toff will not permit himself to be dissuaded from his determination to see the cricket match begin.

Other Interesting Works Worth Mentioning

Similar to how the sun never sets on cricket, the British influence in the regions where it has been the most powerful does not diminish with time. The action in H.R.F. Keating's "Inspector Ghote and the Test Match" (EQMM, October 1969) takes place in the Bradbourne Stadium in Bombay, which is packed to complete with an audience of 50,000 people. There is nothing that Inspector Ghote would like more than to be able to accompany his child to the game, but he is in a difficult situation: in order to get tickets, he is required to accept an unexpected offer from a thief.

H.R.F. Keating's "Inspector Ghote and the Test Match". Source: Goodreads
H.R.F. Keating's "Inspector Ghote and the Test Match". Source: Goodreads

This recurring character, Scobie Malone, was referred to as "Australia's most talented fast bowler" in the year 1966, which is the year that the events of Babylon South, which were written by Jon Cleary and published in 1989, took place. In the course of a crucial court proceeding, he is granted permission to act as New South Wales representative in Hong Kong. Through his participation, the state police force believes that they will be able to enhance their reputation throughout the community.

Cricket is a sport that has a significant following even in the West Indies. The narrative "Cricket" from T.S. Stribling's Clues of the Caribbean (1930) illustrates how the game of cricket is traditionally connected with ideals that are considered to be more traditional. Only two examples of the many different racial identities that are represented in the Sport of cricket are known as black and white cricket players. A murder investigation is at the heart of C. St. John Sprigg's novel The Corpse with the Sunburned Face, which was published in 1935. The tale takes place in the West Indies. A man of African descent is suspected in the case, but he clears his name by offering an alibi, which is that he was playing cricket at the time the murder was committed. This seems to be a peculiar circumstance. Creasey wrote Gideon's Sport (1970) under the pen name "J.J. Marric," and it was about the racial restrictions of the Republic of South Africa that prohibited individuals of African descent from participating in official cricket matches on a national level. Due to anti-apartheid demonstrations, there is a risk that there may be violence during South Africa's test match against England at Lord's, which is a famous cricket venue in London. This is one of the numerous obstacles that Gideon faces. This is in addition to the illegal activities that have an impact on the tennis contests at Wimbledon and the English Derby. In Andrew Garve's novel Death and the Sky Above, which was published in 1953, it is difficult to overlook the significance of a Test Match, and more specifically, the match between England and India, as well as Wimbledon tennis.

Halfway through December 1988, in the EQMM short story "Oracle of the Dead" by Peter Lovesey, David, on his honeymoon to the lovely Greek island of Corfu, is pleasantly surprised to see a cricket match in progress. This dates back more than a century and is an extension of the British rule over Corfu. Helen, David's wife, is devastated to hear that he has been drafted. Every weekend in the summer, I played cricket. He would go to the Oval for a one-day match whenever he wasn't playing for the local team. She had hoped that he would mature enough to stop playing the dumb game when they were married.

A young bride-to-be's dislike of cricket threatens to derail yet another marriage in Julian Symons's Bland Beginning (1949). "...the significant distinction between them  the vast divide that guaranteed their proposed union would inevitably end in disaster  revolved around the topic of sports as a whole, and specifically cricket." ones close to Victoria said she hated games, particularly ones requiring a ball and bat. One Sport in particular that she despised was cricket. Despite Tony Shelton's lack of religious leanings, cricket had always struck him as the fundamental reason for humanity's existence.

Cricket may be a religion to some, but two men named Alington have provided excellent treatment for cricket hordes. While cricket has been written about in history and poetry, Cyril Alington believes that the Sport has never had its detective narrative in the preface to Mr. Evans: A Cricketo-Detective narrative (1922). In a humorous tone, Alington tells the story of Jack Winterton, a famous English slow bowler who dreams of playing for England in the Test Match against Australia. Jack is unable to take time off work to attend his fiancée's cricket match since his boss, who also happens to be her guardian, has a severe dislike of sports in general and cricket in particular. Reggie Courthope, Jack's best friend, and Jack hatch a plan to keep the guardian/employer from knowing that Jack won't be there for the match. Unexpected obstacles like thievery and perhaps murder pop up as the game goes on.

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