RARA-AVIS: Hard-Boiled Baseball

From: T.Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@escape.ca)
Date: 24 Mar 2000

Paul Auster wrote a PBO as Paul Benjamin that features Max Klein as "a tough New York shamus who delivers wisecracks as fast as his one-two punch" according to the cover. It's been awhile since I read it so I don't know how tough Klein is. The book has become very collectible. Steve Hamilton's Edgar-winning first novel, A Cold Day in Paradise, and his second, Winter of the Wolf Moon, features a former pro catcher who is a reluctant private eye in the Michigan Upper Peninsula. He must be hard-boiled if he put on hockey goalie equipment for the first time at about age 40 and played goal against some top players. To a hockey player like myself, that's science fiction. Dead in Center Field by Paul Engleman has a P.I. named Mark Renzler. This week while sorting through my library, I came across a TPBO called Frisco Blues set in 1947 that features P.I. Riley Kovachs. I haven't read it, but the storyline revolves around baseball integration and the death of a player from the Negro Leagues who is killed in a racially troubled shipyard. Kovachs, who has been arrested three including once in connection with a waterfront murder, appears to fit the rare-avis requirements. I'll do more research in Andy McCue's Baseball by the Books fiction bibliography and my own collection.

Kent Morgan in Winnipeg

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