What's this doing on a crime fiction site? Well everyone's entitled a holiday and for me, a summer spent with Jim Maxwell and the rest of the ABC cricket commentary team is one of my favourites. I was very relieved to hear Jim's wonderful voice back on the radio this year, albeit somewhat limited due to his ongoing health problems, but there was this book to fill in some of the gaps as well. And you can read this with Jim's intonation in your head if you're of a mind, and probably some think, mildly batty enough.
Foreword written by the wonderful Kerry O'Keefe (When Jim began broadcasting on the ABC Radio all those decades ago the Rolling Stones were young and Rock Hudson was straight), prefaced with a note from Jim about those aforementioned health problems, this is a bit of a gentle reminisce through a life inextricably linked with Cricket. It dips into remembrance of great performances, peppered with some lovely little anecdotes. It ventures from childhood recall through to some very pointed comments about the difficulties of funding that the ABC encounters, and some occasional tempered admonishment of cricket authorities, cricketers and senior management from everywhere. In exactly the tone, manner and style that you'd expect from Maxwell. He writes as he speaks, and he writes about his life so richly enhanced by a job that he obviously loves doing, and a game that's part of his being.
Not a book for those looking for salacious gossip or reveals, or even strident opinions and massive revelations. Worth reading for the chapters on the untimely and unfortunate deaths of both Peter Roebuck and Phillip Hughes, and the legacy of Richie Benaud - if only because they all give you a real feeling for the closeness of the cricketing world, and an affirming sense, in the case of Roebuck, of Maxwell's ability to find the positive and good in everyone without applying full face blinkers.
Highly recommended if you're also a fan of the ABC's wonderful cricket coverage or just would like to know a little something about this great Australian broadcaster.