Murder at the Baseball Hall of Fame

David Daniel, Author, Chris Carpenter, With
David Daniel, Author, Chris Carpenter, With St. Martin's Press $20.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-312-14683-2
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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Flaws in the plotting trip up this collaborative effort by Daniel, whose The Heaven Stone won SMP's Best First Private Eye Novel, and CNN broadcaster Carpenter. Ex-cop Frank Branco is an appealing Boston-based PI and a big baseball fan. Winning a radio station contest sends him to Cooperstown for the annual induction ceremonies at the Baseball Hall of Fame. At an outdoor reception, a car careens down the lawn toward the pond. Frank's efforts to rescue the locked-in driver, who may already be dead, are futile and the car explodes in flames. Dead is Herb Frawley, a former big-leaguer of great promise whose career ended ingloriously more than 30 years ago. To Branco, there are several reasons to suspect that Frawley's death was not an accident, but the authorities disagree and tell him to mind his own business. Then Frawley's ex-wife, Nola Dymmoch, hires him to continue the search. Eventually, Branco uncovers a sordid tale of murder and betrayal. There are several nicely sketched characters and a suspenseful confrontation, but the original murder is never satisfactorily explained; the killer appears late and unconvincingly, and the reader is left unsatisfied by actions that seem to serve the authors' convenience more than they arise from the characters' internal motivations. (Sept.)
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