A couple weeks ago Mrs. Hungry Detective left on a weekend trip to Tucson. I took the opportunity to do a reorganization of the books. It is a long, frustrating project as I re-affirm my command of the alphabet and its standard order. Invariably, I run across a book by an author who is no longer writing. Some have crossed the river Styx, others have been lost in the gutting of the mid-list author that happens periodically. Others have moved on from the genre and I choose not to follow. I'm gonna tell you about some of them.
Author: Troy Soos
Character: Mickey Rawlins
The Work: MURDER AT FENWAY PARK (1994); MURDER AT EBBETS FIELD (1995); MURDER AT WRIGLEY FIELD (1996); HUNTING A DETROIT TIGER (1997); THE CINCINNATI RED STALKINGS (1998); HANGING CURVE (1999).
I went to the New York Antiquarian Book Fair a couple times. One of those times I bought Mr. Soos's first book MURDER AT FENWAY PARK. It cost me in excess of $100 which meant a lot to me then. I was making 20K a year and this was easily the most expensive book I had purchased. After I went to an NYC Mystery bookstore that is now long gone. The owner chatted me up about what I bought at the show. I told him. He asked how much I spent. I told him. He agreed that it was an OK price. The cost is never too much to spend on an author you love. And Troy Soos was that guy. I have bought nearly a thousand books in my life and I still have particular memories of buying these books.
Except it was over for this lovely little series. I told the store owner I was excited for Mr. Soo's next book THE TOMB THAT RUTH BUILT. It never came. My memory is that his publisher, Kensington, gutted most if not all of their mystery authors. And that was it. Not enough money was in an account when it mattered most and the series disappeared. He wrote four books in a different series at one point, I read none of them.
The hero of these 1920s set Baseball books was Mickey Rawlins, a journeyman player who brushed up against some of the most famous player's baseball has ever produced. Mr. Soos's wrote breezy stories with edges of darkness. Wonderful local color and skill for period detail. Mickey was an aspirational character for me. A bit of charm, a little cleverness, but mostly an ordinary character driven by a sense of decency. Once the internet became the thing he was one of the first authors I tried to figure out what had happened. But nobody told the tale.
There is a reprieve to this story. At some point, the rights must have reverted back to Mr. Soos. E-Books for all of the titles appeared on Amazon 3-4 years ago. And there it was. THE TOMB THAT RUTH BUILT was just sitting there, available for purchase. For fragile reasons owing toward nostalgia, I have yet to read that book. I experienced that end of the series once before, so for obvious if ridiculous reasons I am in no rush to have to confront that end again. Suffice to say it makes me incalculably happy that I have one more Micky Rawlins book to read.
Current Read: SECRETS OF DEATH - Stephen Booth
To Be Read: 38 (Added 2 books; one I didn't count and one I purchased)