Cover art by Austin Coutinho shows a caricature of the characters with our heroes in the foreground and perfectly captures the mood of the novel: precise, intriguing, and subtly funny.
Six word summary: Holmes reveals cricket isn’t actually cricket.
I rate it: 8/10
Arunabha Sengupta’s pastiche on Sherlock Holmes in the backdrop of a historic cricket match caters primarily to two groups of people: Fans of Sherlock Holmes (popularly known as Holmies) like me, and fans of cricket (popularly known as kooks) not like me.
Of course, its dream reader is a Holmie who is also a kook. That said, people in the non-intersection of either sets will also probably enjoy this book to a great degree. I certainly did.
In the close of August, 1882, a legendary match was played in the Oval between Australia and England. It was memorable on many counts. Not only did England fail to chase a fairly chasable target and lose the match, the fabled W G Grace conned a young Australian into losing his wicket by what was widely regarded as a dastardly ploy, and thus triggered a spree of vengeful play by the dreaded Australian bowler Fred Spofforth. The galleries too were not devoid of peculiarities that day; a fan had died of excitement during the course of the match while another had chewed clean though the wooden handle of his umbrella.
This much history tells us.
What we didn’t know, before Arunabha Sengupta told us the story, is the role played by the gentlemen residents of 221B in the events of this match and in the shaping of English and international cricket. Though we should have figured it out, really, if we fans had put our heads together. After all, the events described in A Study in Scarlet took place only a year prior to the infamous match. Continue reading