The impending perjury trial of Chris Cairns calls to mind the strange tale of author, former convict and lord of the realm, Jeffrey Archer.
The Herald on Sunday last week ran a list of 12 former New Zealand cricketers who could be called as witnesses in the Cairns case, likely to go ahead in London in May. Two of those are banned match fixer Lou Vincent and current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum.
According to Dylan Cleaver's excellent ongoing coverage of the Cairns saga in the New Zealand Herald, a message from the Metropolitan Police in London to New Zealand counterparts raised the issue of Cairns' conduct towards McCullum as a potential witness in his impending perjury trial, to be held after Cairns flies to London this week when he is expected to face a perjury charge.
The Metropolitan Police had concerns about a story in a Sunday newspaper that was the subject of a high court injunction, believing it could be seen as undermining a potential trial witness.
Let's not get into the rights and wrongs of gagging newspapers in such circumstances (the injunction was granted to stop publication of that story) and focus on the perils of protecting one's good name.
That's where Archer, made a life peer in 1992 and also known as Lord Archer of Weston-super-Mare, comes in.
Like Cairns, he chose to make a legal stand against the blackening of his name - in 1987 by the Daily Star, a red-top tabloid which alleged Archer, then deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, had paid a prostitute to have sex.
Archer denied it and won the ensuing libel case against the newspaper, earning 500,000 in damages. Later, in 1999, allegations emerged in the News of the World that Archer had fabricated an alibi in the 1987 libel action.
A friend, who claimed Archer owed him money, and a former secretary gave evidence (with others) that Archer had made false diary entries to back up his alibi. He was found guilty of two counts of perjury and two of perverting the course of justice and was sentenced to four years in jail and served two.
Cairns sued Lalit Modi in 2012. He was awarded 90,000 in damages after a libel case over allegations he was involved in match-fixing while playing in the Indian Cricket League for the Chandigarh Lions in 2008.
Now, like Archer, it appears something in a case brought to clear his name has triggered the impending perjury charge.
Also like Archer, a friend is involved. McCullum has made a statement to the anti-corruption unit of the International Cricket Council where he claimed to be approached about match-fixing by a former top player around 2008. McCullum declined.
Cairns has conceded that McCullum was referring to him, but has repeatedly denied match-fixing and described all such allegations as "despicable lies".
What has never been known - but will likely come out in the trial - is why McCullum did not report the approach until 2011.
Cairns firmly denies any perjury and has said he's going to London to clear his name.
Whatever the outcome of the trial, Cairns faces difficult times. The effect of the allegations could be that a high-paying job in cricket may be beyond him, even if he is found innocent.
He's currently renting a house in Herne Bay and has been reported by another cricketing mate, Dion Nash, to be cleaning bus shelters to help support his family.
Enter Archer again. In an astonishing career that would be derided as lurid fiction should it appear in a Jeffrey Archer novel, the imprisoned peer has made more comebacks than Rocky. He has survived not only jail but also three high-profile political resignations and hovered close to bankruptcy.
Now he is said to be worth more than 100 million - made by shrewd investments in hit West End plays, art investments and prolific writing which has made him one of the biggest-selling authors of all time; some works inspired by his prison time.
Who knows whether Cairns, regardless of the verdict of the perjury trial, will be able to make a similar recovery?
As someone who worked with him on a column he wrote for this newspaper some years ago, I can only say that Cairns was always good to work with, reliable and personable.
He may not quite have the chutzpah of Archer who, even at a young age at university where he met the Beatles, prompted Ringo Starr to be quoted as saying of him: "He strikes me as a nice enough fella but he's the kind of bloke who would bottle your piss and sell it."
Archer needed that quality after discovering that protecting one's reputation can come with a sting in the tail.