Herman Melville said of Moby Dick, “I have written a wicked book.”

Angus Bell said of Batting on the Bosphorus, “Uh, yuh, liquor had something to do with it.”

Water figures in each book. Otherwise they’re not especially similar, except that each involves a quest. Ahab chased down the white whale. Angus Bell played cricket in a great many places in Eastern Europe, each less likely than the last. He saw it as a kind of mission, in part because he felt a psychic had foreseen the trip. Then when it was all over, he worried that the psychic might have been kidding.

Little more need be said about Batting on the Bosphorus beyond my mentioning that the most twisted passages in the book could have been written by Hunter S. Thompson if he’d gone in for cricket in Serbia, Belarus, Lithuania, and places of that nature, rather than for football at the Super Bowl.

Angus Bell, who has been known to describe himself as “a Scottish elf,” is a funny guy.