In this 1914 period piece, sometime infielder Mickey Rawlings hopes his NY Giants will beat the Dodgers and earn a shot at the World Series. There's a movie crew shooting the game and right next to the Dodger's dugout, Mickey sees the luscious and famous movie star, Florence Hampton. When the director asks for a man from each team as bit players, the Dodgers pick Casey Stengel and the Giants choose Mickey.
The Giants lose the game (and baseball fans and non fans alike will appreciate Soos's short and vivid game descriptions), the glamorous Miss Hampton whisks Rawlings and Stengel away to film some scenes, then they're off to a champagne party. The next morning Mickey takes his hangover for a walk on the beach and finds Hampton's bloated body washed up on the beach. His friend, journalist Karl Landfors, talks him into investigating Hampton's death.
Soos's simple, almost journalistic prose holds the reader captive in the early 20th century baseball world. Soos, a physicist at MIT, says he always liked "reading mysteries and doing physics mostly for the puzzle...I think Peter Lovesey's Cribb & Thackery series is what got me writing historicals."
He uses books, film and photos to learn how the cities looked in the early part of the century. "I do use actual incidents and players, then I start to play the game of 'what if?' to tie them together in a mystery plot."
Although I'm a baseball fan, I don't consider myself a fan of historical baseball -- at least I wasn't until I discovered Soos's series. He's managed to change that.