Those of us who followed this “season-long whodunit” as it was published in serial fashion on Jeff Polman’s blog a couple years ago (which, by the way, was named 2012 OneForFive.com Best Tabletop-Sports Replay of the Year), were treated to a fantastic noir mystery with all the exciting twists and turns you’d expect from the genre. Starring one ‘Snappy Drake,’ former minor league pitcher and current usher at Seals Stadium in 1958 San Francisco, Polman’s story is told in a classic voice reminiscent of the drugstore pulps that were the fashion in that post-WWII, pre-Vietnam era. It’s a murder mystery, and it’s a good one.
For Tabletop-Sports hobby enthusiasts, Jeff’s concept and inspiration may be particularly interesting. From the book’s “Beforewards”:
I bought a copy of the book to support my friend Jeff, even though I’d already read the story. When the book arrived the other day, however, I picked it up and thumbed through it, just marveling at Bethany Heck‘s cover design (you may remember Heck from her “Eephus League” Scorebook: The Halfliner) and Polman’s page layout, when I suddenly found myself 30 pages into re-reading it. I haven’t been able to put it down since! Even with the knowledge of everything that’s going to happen, the drama and the plot turns in the story have me hooked – again! – and I just keep reading. It’s a really fun book.
If you have ever enjoyed the stories of Raymond Chandler (The Big Sleep, Farewell, My Lovely), or Dashiell Hammett (The Maltese Falcon, The Thin Man), or films like Double Indemnity and Chinatown, you’ll love Mystery Ball ’58.