Murder Will Out Mysteries
Glitter of Diamonds by J.A. Menzies
After Stasey Simon, an outspoken and defiant sports talk-show host, asks on-air for a volunteer to knock some sense into the home team’s temperamental new pitcher, police detectives Paul Manziuk and Jacqueline Ryan have to scramble to stop a murderer swinging a lethal bat.
Suspects include Ted Benedetto, Stasey’s young, longsuffering producer; Iain Foley, a former athlete who couldn’t quite make the NHL, but is the prime time talk show host; Ginny Loveday, girl-next-door turned sports reporter; Kyle Schmidt, Ginny’s rival from the other big newspaper, and a would-be novelist who hates his job but loves the regular pay check.
And then you have the Toronto Matrix baseball team, from the mysterious owner to several key players, including the temperamental new pitcher, Ricardo (Rico) Velasquez and his wife Alita; the newly-demoted pitcher, Armando Santana, fleet shortstop Ferdinand Ortes, and the team’s rock-solid catcher, Jonas Newland.
Add Pat Davies, Rico’s agent, and sparkplug Eva McPherson, a Marilyn Monroe wannabe who enjoys having a ballplayer on her arm, and you have all the ingredients for an unusual murder.
As the crime threatens to escalate into an international incident, Manziuk draws on his own knowledge of baseball while Ryan tries to understand a game she’s never watched.
Read an Excerpt
Manziuk picked up the phone. “Yeah? …. Oh, that’s just great! I don’t have the report done for the last one. You know, I think I’m overdue for a few days R & R. … I’m going on a cruise with Woody when the doctor says he’s fit enough to travel, and you won’t be able to call me in the middle of the ocean. … Who’s available for secondary?”
Ryan took a couple of steps so she could stare at the picture on Manziuk’s wall. It showed a serene valley with a tiny mouse just visible in the grass, and in the sky an eagle searching for prey. Ryan bit her bottom lip.
“Yeah, I guess.” There was a long pause. “Okay, I’ll take care of it.” Manziuk hung up. “They’ve got a body.”
Ryan continued to stare at the picture as if fascinated. “Oh?” she asked, her voice implying it was no concern of hers.
“I guess nobody told whoever did it that I was tired and needed a rest.”
“I guess.” She moved toward the door. “Well, good luck.”
“I’ll need a secondary.”
She turned to look at him.
“You doing anything?” He was looking directly at her, his eyes measuring.
She put one hand on the doorknob. “You want to take along a female who can’t keep quiet?”
He shrugged. “At least it doesn’t get boring with you around.”
She put her free hand on her hip. “I’m not sure my blood pressure can stand working with you.”
He kept his eyes on her. “If you do your own job instead of trying to do mine as well, I won’t have to yell at you more than once a day.”
“Thanks a lot.” She shifted her weight to the balls of her feet. “You just need to pay more attention to what I say. You aren’t the only one who can think, you know.”
He stood up. “Are you planning to talk all day, or are you going to back me up here?”
Her jaw set, she faced him. “Just tell me one thing. Do you want a partner or a secretary?”
“Why would I need a secretary?”
She released the door and took a step toward him. “You don’t need a secretary.”
“I didn’t think so.” He stepped from behind his desk, grabbed his hat, and pushed past her to lead the way out of the office. “You a baseball fan?” he asked over his shoulder.
“What’s that got to do with anything?”
“Some baseball player’s been found dead at the stadium. In the bullpen.”
She had to run to keep up. “Murdered?”
“Looks like it.”
As they hurried through the silent outer office, she made a quick detour to grab her purse. Lunging into the elevator as the door was closing, she asked, “Did you say they found the body in a bullpen? Why on earth would they have cattle at a baseball game?”
The elevator started its downward journey.
“Exactly how much do you know about baseball?” Manziuk asked.
She looked at the pocket on his suit jacket. “Well, nothing.”
He sighed. “The bullpen is where relief pitchers warm up.”
“The game starts with a pitcher who can work a number of innings—ideally throw the ball a hundred or more times. If he gets tired, or if he’s getting hit a lot, they bring in another pitcher. That one’s called a relief pitcher. When there’s any chance that the starting pitcher might need to be replaced, the relief pitcher gets up to throw in the bullpen. If they don’t warm up properly before they pitch, they get arm problems.”
“Why on earth do they call it a bullpen?”
“I have no idea.”
About the Author
J. A. Menzies is the alter ego of award-winning Canadian author and speaker N. J. Lindquist.
An avid mystery reader since her pre-teens, while visiting a Japanese garden with her husband and young children she was struck by the discovery of a perfect place for a body. The result was Shaded Light, a contemporary mystery in the Golden Age style. Reviewers, including Publishers Weekly, compared the book to the best of Agatha Christie.
A life-long baseball fan, she set her second mystery, Glitter of Diamonds, in the world of professional baseball and the media that surrounds it. In one of the many positive reviews, Library Journal called her a “master of plotting.”
She is a member of a number of organizations for writers, including Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of Canada, and The Writers Union of Canada.
If you wanted something more like a blog from me…
From J. A. Menzies
Even though I grew up in a small town in the prairies of Canada, I enjoyed watching baseball from the first time my dad took me to see our town’s local team play a game against a team from another small town half an hour away.
When I saw the New York Yankees and other professional teams on TV, I immediately fell in love.
So when I made a list of things I knew, and therefore could write about (they do say write what you know), baseball was most definitely on that list.
Now, over the years, I’ve read numerous of books about baseball, from Jimmy Breslin and Bill Veeck’s Can’t Anybody Here Play this Game? to the more recent biography of Lefty Gomez, (Lefty: An American Odyssey, by Vernona Gomez and Lawrence Goldstone), and Dirk Hayhurst’s provocative Out of My League, but there was no way I could write a non-fiction book. Outside of some mandatory games in phys ed in which I got stuck in the outfield (where in one memorable game I was stung by a bee), and some pick-up games in my neighbourhood, where I got chosen last, I’ve never played the game. Truth is, I didn’t have the reflexes for it, in spite of the hours and hours I spent throwing a ball against the side of our house and catching it.
But over the years, I’d also found some novels about baseball, from the classic The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant by Douglass Wallop to the baseball mysteries of Alison Gordon and Troy Soos.
And there I stopped. Because I’ve loved mysteries even longer than I’ve loved baseball. So it was clear to me that I had to write a baseball mystery.
The result, Glitter of Diamonds is my entry into the world of baseball fiction. It’s a mystery first, a baseball story second. It’s a bit on the light-hearted side, and kind of complex, the way I like my mysteries. And my baseball games, come to think of it.
Since millions of people buy tickets to baseball games every year in North America, and even more people watch the games on TV, I’m hoping a bunch of those fans also like mysteries.
Click on the Book Cover to Purchase on Amazon