RARA-AVIS: Robert Irvine

From: T. Kent Morgan ( tkmorgan@shaw.ca)
Date: 12 Apr 2007

Jim wrote:

"R.R. Irvine's Moroni Traveler is a former pro football player, not baseball player. In fact, if memory serves, he is, like William Campbell Gault's Brock "The Rock" Callahan, a former LA Ram."

Then Mark wrote:

Oops. So who wrote a series about a baseball player that was published around the same time? Enger, may?

A couple of hours ago I went into my "baseball" room to check this out and my paperback copy of Irvine's Gone To Glory fell off a bookcase and behind a large wardrobe. By the time I removed all the books, moved the bookcase, recovered the book, and reshelved all my baseball fiction in a diffrent way, I forgot that I had gone in there for a reason.

I think the confusion may be because Irvine's character Moroni Traveler is mentioned as "linebacking for LA" on page 5, but this mystery revolves around a baseball shortstop. The shortstop, Pepper Dalton, was a boyhood hero of Moroni and now he is a suspect in the death of his sister who was killed with a baseball bat.

To answer Mark's question about another series written by Enger, the two brothers Leif and Lin Enger from Minnesota wrote a series set in northern Minnesota featuring former Detroit Tigers slugger Gun Pedersen. The first, Comeback, earned an Edgar nominee, I believe for best PBO. The next three also were PBOs and the fifth and final book in the series was published in hardcover and is difficult to find even in Minnesota used bookstores.

Leif Enger later wrote the well-received novel, Peace Like A River, that was published in 2001. He was Winnipeg that year along with Richard Ford at a signing and Ford received almost all the attention from a crowd that wasn't very large. I was one of the few people who bought Enger's book and spoke to him. He was very surprised that I knew about the baseball mystery series and had all the PBOs in my collection. He was the one who told me that the HC was tough to find and I now wish I had bought the one copy I saw in a Miineapolis store not long after publication. Someday I will add it too my collection, but it won't be through an online purchase.

Kent Morgan just north of Minnesota

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