August 1st, 2019

jury of one

Jonty, Orlando and ... the Ashes

I usually mark the start of the torture that is an Ashes series with a repost of "Once we Won Matches", which features Jonty and Orlando being presented with a mystery at the Oval test match. I'd forgotten there were two versions. Here's the revised one...

Editor’s note: This account of one of the minor cases tackled by Edwardian sleuths Coppersmith and Stewart (or Stewart and Coppersmith as the narrator always referred to them) was recently unearthed among the papers they bequeathed to the nation. Their biographer, Mrs. Cochrane, would be honoured to publish it here in tribute to ongoing cricketing rivalry between Australia and England.
The story itself is unusual in being related in the first person, something Dr. Stewart always swore he’d never do, as it smacked of Dr. Watson. As Mrs. Cochrane says, you should never trust a word he says, the little toad.
This match referred to was real; it took place at Kennington Oval, London on 19th, 20th, 21st, 22nd August 1912. Please note that England won by 244 runs.

Once we won Matches

“It shouldn’t do that, Dr. Stewart.”
“That’s the third time you’ve said the same thing. And it doesn’t matter how many times you repeat the phrase, it won’t change the facts. It can and it does.” I tried my best to smile kindly; I love it when Orlando Coppersmith finds things that contradict his powers of intellect and reason.
“But it defies all logic. Whatever variables you apply, it makes no sense.” Orlando shook his head, loosening the curls which always seemed keen to fight free from the restraint of comb or pomade. I love those curls, too. When we first met and I fell head over heels for Orlando, it was that wild mane of hair, so carefully restrained, that got me all of a lather. It spoke of hidden qualities within him, parts of his character that I had to find and liberate.
I digress; Orlando says I do that a lot. I have a story to tell you and I’m not being logical about it.
“Well, you can’t deny the evidence of your eyes.” I said, wrinkling my nose in delight.
“And you do it, don’t you—with that flipping movement or whatever you call it.”
“That’s a matter of the finger action, although some people do it from the wrist. Similar thing here. The hand position makes all the difference.” I made a series of movements with my fingers, flexing and twisting. It might have looked obscene to anyone who was sitting nearby, but they’d all have known I was demonstrating my bowling action.

Read more: Once we won Matches - revised