PLEASE CONTRIBUTE A REVIEW ON MAY 16th FOR CRIME FICTION OF THE 1950s.
From the archives
Kent Morgan writes a sports column in Winnipeg, Manitoba and is a candidate for the Hoarders TV show as he is losing a battle with the books in his home. He hates it when every week reviewers write about Forgotten Books that he knows has and hasn't read, but can't find.
The Kate Henry Series - Alison Gordon - McClelland & Stewart
Alison Gordon was the first female sports writer assigned to an American League beat when the Toronto Star gave her the job of covering the Toronto Blue Jays. In 1985, her book about that not-always-pleasant experience titled Foul Balls: Five Years in the American League was published to positive reviews. After leaving the "toy department" Gordon began a mystery series with its main character a Toronto sports writer named Kate Henry. The first book was titled The Dead Pull Hitter and she followed up with Safe at Home, Night Game, Striking Out and Prairie Hardball.
Prairie Hardball may be my favourite because it takes Kate away from her comfort zone of Toronto and Florida to the province of Saskatchewan where she grew up. She brings her partner, Toronto homicide detective Andy Munro, with her to see her hometown of Indian Head. The reason for the trip is to watch her mother and the other Saskatchewan women who played in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League during the 1940s and early 1950s be inducted into the provincial Baseball Hall of Fame in Battleford. Philip Wrigley had recruited many of the best young softball players from the Wheat Province and neighbouring Manitoba to play in his "Glamour League." Some of the players have been warned to stay away from the induction and when one is murdered, Kate as might be expected becomes involved in the investigation.
After Prairie Hardball was published, Gordon seemed to lose interest in writing. At least that's the impression I got from her in a brief email correspondence. In 2004 on her blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, Sarah Weinman began a series called The Disappeared and her first author was Alison. In it she gives a much better summary and analysis of the books than I could so I encourage you to track it down. Weinman suggests that Gordon's books succeed because they are character-driven. In the comments section, there is one from Alison herself where she says she hasn't disappeared, but is living happily ever after in Toronto. She said that she had felt that she had gone as far as she could with Kate Henry and hadn't stopped writing because of lack of interest by her publisher.
She also added that occasionally a bunch of her Presbyterian ancestors show up in the middle of the night to inform her, in heavy Scots accents, that she is wasting her God-given talent, but so far she had managed to drive them off. I guess she continues to do so. The last I heard about Alison came in 2009 when she wrote an afterword for a new edition of The Men From Glengarry, a book written by her grandfather Rev. Dr. Charles William Gordon in 1901. He wrote under the pseudonym of Ralph Connor and sold millions of books around the turn of the 20th Century. Connor was Canada's best-selling author and in my opinion his granddaughter Alison is one of our country's best mystery novelists.
Sergio Angelini, NUDE ON THIN ICE, Gil Brewer
Joe Barone, REDBREAST, Jo Nesbo
Brian Busby, TOO MANY WOMEN, Gerry Martin
Bill Crider, NELSON ALGREN'S OWN BOOK OF LONESOME MONSTERS
Martin Edwards, THE MAROON CORTINA, Peter Whalley (Play)
Curt Evans, AARON MARC STEIN
Ed Gorman, BORDERLINE, Lawrence Block
Rick Horton, EBEN HOLDEN, Irving Bacheller
Jerry House, REVELATIONS OF AN A LADY DETECTIVE, Anonymous
Nick Jones, THE WHISPER IN THE GLEN, P.M. Hubbard
Randy Johnson, THE COMING RACE, Baron Edward Bulwer-Lytton
George Kelley, A AS IN ANDROID, Milton Lesser
Margot Kinberg, Paradise City, Archer Mayors
Rob Kitchin, TO HAVE AND TO HAVE NOT, Ernest Hemingway
B.V. Lawson, TWELVE WOMEN DETECTIVE STORIES, Laura Marcus editor
Evan Lewis, DANGER ZONE, Raould Whitfield
Steve Lewis, William F. Deeck, DEATH AT SWAYTHILLING COURT, J. J. Connington
Todd Mason, THE LOVED ONE, Evelyn Waugh
Neer, I'LL SAY SHE DOES, Peter Cheyney
J.F. Norris, THAT COLD DAY IN THE PARK, Richard Miles
James Reasoner, DEAD CAT BOUNCE, Norman Green
Gerard Saylor, COCKTAIL WAITRESS, James Cain
Ron Scheer, RED HARVEST, Dashiell Hammett
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, THE EDUCATION OF HYMAN KAPLAN, Leonard Q Ross
TomCat, "Flashlights", Lawrence Clarke
Prashant Trikannad, Three Short Works by John Philip Sousa
Zybahn, MISSING PERSON, Patrick Modiano