Strike Three, You're Dead (1984)
Imagine Mark Harris's great Henry Wiggen baseball novels crossed with Roger Simon's Moses Wine series and you'll have some idea of what to expect from Richard Rosen's centerfielder/sleuth, Harvey Blissberg. Now toiling for the expansion Providence Jewels, "The Professor" has always been conflicted about his choice of careers, atypical to say the least for a Jewish college graduate. So, although he's batting .300, when his best friend on the team is murdered -- in the clubhouse with a baseball bat, no less -- he starts investigating the crime himself.
In succeeeding entries in the series Mr. Rosen would make his hero a full-fledged private eye, but here the story is as much about an intelligent participant's uncomfortable relationship with his own athletic ability and the fame, fortune, and all the rest that comes along with it. Sharply observed and winningly written, it's a must for baseball fans and mystery fans alike.
Copyright 1998-2015 Orrin Judd