Nero Wolfe and Baseball

Goldsborough_Murder_1[5][2] (1)Given my love of baseball, I suppose it is no surprise that I have finally set a Nero Wolfe novel–my ninth–against a baseball backdrop. “Murder in the Ball Park” will be published by Mysterious Press/Open Road Integrated Media early in 2014.

Without giving too much away–heaven forbid!–I will say this much: the story is set at the midpoint of the 20th century and opens at a baseball game in New York’s Polo Grounds between the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers, two teams that have long since departed the Big Apple for San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively.

Archie Goodwin, a Giants fan, and Saul Panzer, a follower of the Dodgers, are in the stands on a fateful June afternoon when a political figure of note is gunned down in his seat during the game. Pandemonium ensues, followed by a public outcry, fueled by the newspapers and aimed at the city government and the police department. The police are stymied in their hunt for the killer, and eventually, albeit reluctantly, Nero Wolfe steps in.

Rex Stout, the creator of the Nero Wolfe series, was an avid baseball fan, often attending games at the Polo Grounds and Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, but not Yankee Stadium (he disliked the Yankees). And he set one of his Wolfe novellas, “This Won’t Kill You” from the trilogy “Three Men Out” (1954), at the Polo Grounds, where a murder takes place during a World Series.

“Murder at the Ball Park” is my second mystery with a baseball setting. The first was “Three Strikes You’re Dead” (2005), a Steve ‘Snap’ Malek story from Echelon Press. The year is 1938, and famed pitcher Dizzy Dean has been traded to the Chicago Cubs. Although well past his prime, the colorful Dean helps pitch the Cubs into the World Series. He also saves newspaperman Malek’s life during the hunt for a killer. This book is available from Echelon Press or Amazon. If you love baseball, you might consider adding both of these books to your library.

17 thoughts on “Nero Wolfe and Baseball

  1. Thank you for this info. I look forward to meeting you in Dec at the Black Orchid Banquet & to reading your new novel! Congratulations & Best Wishes for another well received Nero Wolfe story!

    Best, Marilyn Schaffer, member, Nero Wolfe Steering Committee

    Sent from my iPad

  2. I received my copy of “Murder in the Ball Park” today and am trying to figure out how to make it last as long as possible. I read the “Author Notes” first…a nice touch.

  3. Hi again, Bob. Much gyreing and gimbeling on the wabe yesterday when “Murder in the Ball Park” arrived in the post. Engulfed it in one sitting and thought I had it solved nicely but as usual your twist at the end caught me totally off guard and I was wrong again. I’ll reread it for details before consigning it to the bookshelf for my annual Nero Wolfe splurge. I’m delighted to see you set it in the time frame circa 1950, wouldn’t do to bring Archie and Nero too far into this electronic maze we’re living in now! Best regards and hope to hear you’re producing another book for us, John

    • Thanks for your comments, John. And I’m glad I had you fooled (that’s the point of a whodunit, right?). I agree with you about not wanting to bring Nero and Archie into what you accurately term “this electronic maze.” I like what the Irish writer John Banville, writing as “Benjamin Black”, has to say on the subject: “Since my books are set in the 1950s, it means I do not have to keep up with present-day forensic science and so on, which is a great relief, for I find the contemporary obsession with factuality a great bore. A pinch of imagination will tip the scales against a pound of research any day.”

      All best,

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