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1923: The Mystery of Lot 212 and a Tour de France Obsession

Title: 1923: The Mystery of Lot 212 and a Tour de France Obsession

Author: Ned Boulting

In “1923: The Mystery of Lot 212 and a Tour de France Obsession,” Ned Boulting offers readers an extraordinary journey through time, blending a passion for cycling with meticulous historical research and a flair for detective storytelling. This captivating book is a testament to Boulting’s unwavering dedication to uncovering the mysteries of a brief, obscure piece of film footage from nearly a century ago.

The story begins in the autumn of 2020 when Boulting, ITV’s head cycling commentator and an ardent Tour de France enthusiast, acquires a segment of Pathé news film at a London auction. This fragment, lasting a mere 2.5 minutes, contains several sequences from the fourth stage of the 1923 Tour de France. Among the images is a haunting shot of a lone rider crossing a bridge, an evocative scene that sparks Boulting’s curiosity and sets him on a path of discovery.

Boulting’s investigation into the film footage becomes the backbone of the book, driving him to dissect every frame and analyse every detail. His quest is not just a technical exercise; it evolves into an odyssey that weaves together elements of travelogue, historical narrative, and mystery. As Boulting delves deeper, he provides readers with a rich tapestry of the post-World War I era, exploring the socio-political landscape of France and the burgeoning world of professional cycling.

One of the book’s greatest strengths is Boulting’s ability to transform seemingly mundane details into compelling stories. His descriptions of the riders, the rural landscapes, and the atmosphere of 1920s France are vivid and evocative. The book is as much about the history and culture of the period as it is about the sport of cycling. Boulting’s narrative is infused with his infectious enthusiasm and deep respect for the sport’s heritage.

“1923: The Mystery of Lot 212 and a Tour de France Obsession” is more than just a book for cycling aficionados; it is a masterful blend of history, mystery, and personal obsession. Boulting’s writing is engaging and accessible, making complex historical research and niche subject matter appealing to a broad audience. His ability to connect the dots between a fragment of film and a broader historical context is both impressive and inspiring.

The book stands out not only for its content but also for its structure. Boulting skilfully interweaves his investigative journey with reflections on the significance of the Tour de France, the evolution of cycling, and the enduring human spirit captured in those fleeting moments of film. His narrative is a testament to the power of curiosity and the lengths to which one can go in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

In conclusion, “1923: The Mystery of Lot 212 and a Tour de France Obsession” is a fascinating and beautifully crafted book that transcends its subject matter. Ned Boulting has delivered a work that is as enlightening as it is entertaining, offering readers a unique window into a bygone era through the lens of a single, enigmatic piece of film. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in history, cycling, or simply the thrill of uncovering the past.


Author: The Editorial Team


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