cover image Murder at the Foul Line

Murder at the Foul Line

, . . Mysterious, $24.95 (368pp) ISBN 978-0-446-69631-9

As Penzler suggests in the introduction to his latest sports-themed anthology, basketball and crime go together like "ham and eggs" or, more darkly, like "Michael Jackson and little boys." The results, in any event, are always readable. Penzler's choice of contributors is varied and often surprising: sportswriter Mike Lupica is a natural, as is R.D. Rosen, author of the Edgar-winning Harvey Blissberg series about a professional baseball player. But Laurie R. King, author of the Mary Russell series? Her story, "Cat's Paw," is one of the best, about a teacher who coaches a girl's junior high school basketball team, refers to herself as a "twenty-nine-year-old virgin" and has her life shaken up when she almost runs over a cat on the highway. Also strong is George P. Pelecanos's "String Music," in which a streetwise D.C. kid survives the problems of his daily life by playing pickup basketball: "In pickup, see, you can pretty much freestyle, try everything out you been practicing on your own," he tells us, summing up the spirit of this lively volume. (Jan.)