England is agog with excitement as the final Test Match against Australia draws near, but no corner of the land has the fate of the Ashes closer to its heart than the village of Wattlecombe Ducis, Glebeshire.It was here at the Manor House that Norman Blood, captain of England, spent his childhood playing cricket with the vicars radiant daughter, Monica. And it was she who presented young Joe Prestwick with a belt on the occasion of his first game of cricket. As Sir Timothy Blood remarked, I would rather see the whole village dead at my feet than a man bowling in braces.With a short- but sensational- career behind him, Joe just needs to be selected to play at the Oval for Monica to marry him: everything depends on the Test.But The Bad Men, Europes most wanted gang, have no intention of letting the best team win. Sawn-off Carlo, the Professor and Ralph the Disappointment (an Englishman who, knowing the rules of the Game, is eternally damned for not playing by them) plan to strike a blow at the very heart of proud Albion and her Empire. The Amazing Test Match Crime is a wicked yet affectionate comedy of cricketing (and criminal) manners, proving- as if proof were needed- that a straight bat and nimble spinning finger will always win through.

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