THE HOCKEY REFS MYSTERY by Jim Felton
I never played the game and never learned how to ice skate, but from time to time, hockey has been my life. I’m not actually obsessed with the game but it’s the only one that holds my interest. Hockey has not been a mystery to me. I learned the rules when I was in grade school by watching games on TV. That was in the good old days, before super close ups. The viewer could see half the ice surface and all the skaters. Whether he could see the puck was not a concern – the players communicate where the puck is by their actions. Where the idea came from that the point of watching was to see the puck, I have no clue. Nor do I have a clue why there are so few references to hockey in mysteries. I call this “The Hockey Refs Mystery.”
At some point it occurred to me that I could not recall any instance of hockey being mentioned in the hundreds of mysteries I had been reading, and it just struck me as odd. Sports like horse racing, billiards or pool, and boxing are quite familiar to mystery readers. Remember in DOUBLE INDEMNITY where Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) kills some time at a bowling alley? Baseball, football, basketball, tennis – the sports are mentioned uncountable times. Why not hockey?
“Hockey interest was confined to the six cities where there were professional teams...” would be the first response. Until the late 1960s major league hockey was confined to Boston, New York, Detroit, Chicago, Montreal and Toronto, the implication being that the game of hockey was played no where else. First of all, hockey was and is played anywhere there is an ice surface. Natural ice abounds in Minnesota, Wisconsin, northern Michigan, upstate New York, Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and no doubt a state or two more. Elsewhere in the northern states it will be cold enough to freeze the pond for at least a brief period. Then there is the whole of Canada. This covered a pretty fair proportion of the North American population and its biggest cities.
“And that leaves the rest of the country without hockey.” Not really true. That ice surface does not have to be natural. Those six major league teams didn’t play games on natural ice. The technology to make artificial ice surfaces has been put into practice for a century now. That means an ice surface can be made available anywhere, and anywhere there is an ice surface, hockey can be played. And will be.
If you examine the landmark research effort Total Hockey (edited by Dan Diamond, Total Sports Publishing, 2nd edition 2000) you will find the section containing season standings of all North American professional leagues and the high level amateur leagues. While major league professional hockey may have been confined to six cities, minor league hockey has been played in just about every US city (of, let’s say, 50,000 population) regardless of latitude. And not just today, when there are 100 minor league teams besides the 30 big league teams. There was a professional league in Los Angeles as early as 1927 through 1933. Miami had a professional league in 1938 with a Havana casino sponsoring a team.
Traditionally hockey has been considered a blue-collar pastime. It was an escape from the isolated prairie farm or northern logging camps, from the bleak future of laboring in the mines, the mills, the factories and fisheries, for players and fans alike.
The game is rough and tough and so are many of its fans. I imagine during the pulp magazine era they would have been typical readers.
One final point in hockey’s favor: in the old days professional hockey was run by the closest thing to gangsters. Not the Mob, not the Mafia, but bad enough to spend some time behind the walls. In one instance, the ownership added one entire row of
seats to the arena without revising the stated capacity. Every game they skimmed the ticket prices for several hundred seats.
In 2003 I decided I would make a deliberate effort to find references to hockey in mysteries. Lo and behold they started turning up – and from the start I kept notes for future use. I must have been wasting too much of my time over the years going to games or watching them on TV. I am completely amazed by how often ice hockey has been used in mysteries. Still not as frequently as a sizeable list of other sports but a respectable showing nonetheless. I just knew this sport couldn’t have been ignored as completely as I had first thought.
Here is what I have found so far, in order of publication. I want to thank Steve Lewis for promoting this interest of mine among his other Mystery*File contributors and in some Yahoo groups. If you have additions, please pass them along.
Wallace Watson, “Point for Point.” Top-Notch, May 10, 1914
Even in 1914 the hockey world was a small one, when a Toronto player meets up again with the ornery cuss who drugged him and took his motorcar, facing him on the ice for a New Year’s Eve contest in New York City. Described as a "peculiar adventure" but the crimes that are committed and the pursuit of the fugitive by a Toronto detective qualify this story for the hockey in mysteries list.
C. S. Montanye, “The Might That Failed.” Top-Notch Magazine, April 1, 1924
Stanley Stanton ... youngest reporter on the sporting page [of the New York Morning Call] ... [had] yearned for the excitement of the baseball stands, the smoky ringside, the football gridiron, the ice rink where hockey was king. (From page 1 of the online PULPGEN version.)
Mansfield Scott, “The Sportsman-Detective.” Flynn’s DetectiveFiction Weekly, April 14, 1928
Monte Herridge submitted this title, in which hockey playing detective “[Dizzy] McArthur’s clients have to go to a hockey game in order to hire him.”
Mansfield Scott, “Knockout Smoke.” Flynn’s Detective Fiction Weekly, April 28, 1928
Kendall ‘Dizzy’ McArthur is an inventor and private detective and in one scene is described as “the greatest showman of semi-professional hockey, his efforts wasted on a team that was the joke of the league.” (Submitted by Monte Herridge).
Let me quote some passages that express exactly what I knew had to exist:
“Boo! A-a-argh!” screamed a gaudily dressed woman, keeper of a chain of notorious houses, who occupied a box at midice (sic) with a tipsy salesman.
“Boo! Put him out!” bawled a florid faced man in the two dollar section, a well known gambler on the league race. (Page 291.)
It appeared that semiprofessional hockey had the American public by the throat. Even when the contest was only between a fourth-place visiting team and the local tail-enders, the patrons stormed the doors. Every seat in the great enclosure was taken, and there were many standing. (Pages 308-309.)
The thousands of spectators who sat encircling the rink and jamming the aisles did not dream how completely the game and its fortunes – and many other games as well – were under the manipulation of the manager of the place, Tom Black. Occasionally it was done for money, some big bet which was to be swung in a private circle by gamblers. (Page 310.)
Monte informed me of two more Dizzy McArthur stories:
“Sudden Death,” Flynn’s Detective Fiction Weekly, May 19, 1928, and
“The Red Inn,” Flynn’s Detective Fiction Weekly, July 21, 1928.
The four parts were collected in hardback as The Sportsman Detective, Edward J. Clode. 1930.
J.-J. des Ormeaux, “The Devil Suit.” Black Mask, July 1932 [reprinted in The Hard-Boiled Omnibus, edited by Joseph T. Shaw, Simon & Schuster, 1946]
It’s [the devil’s suit] a sort of diver’s rig; no, that’s not it. It’s sort of a cross between a football uniform and a hockey goal-keeper’s suit.
Des Ormeaux, in this southern California based story, is describing the padded protective equipment a trainer of attack dogs would wear.
Erle Stanley Gardner, “Making the Breaks.” Black Mask, June 1933 [collected in Honest Money, Carroll & Graf, 1991]
Spread over pages 127-128 and 134 in the collection, Gardner describes how attorney Ken Corning is able to break the frame-up two “witnesses” intended to establish by giving false testimony. He has learned the two men had taken a couple girls to a hockey game the evening of a killing, a game that Corning knew was still underway at the time of that crime.
Hugh B. Cave, “The Man Who Looked Sick.” Dime Detective, April 1, 1935 [collected in Bottled in Blond, Fedogan & Bremer, 2000]
Abe Brolberg ... ran other things including ... a South End print shop which turned out, for fights, football games, hockey games and similar sporting contests, the best no-good tickets a sucker ever paid top price for. (Page 95.)
Cortland Fitzsimmons, Crimson Ice. Stokes, 1935
A novel suggested by Jon Breen. I did find a copy and confess I read it all the way through, a great waste of time and effort. This variation on the theme of murder committed during a sporting event, used several ways by Fitzsimmons, does contain much hockey. All in all, this mystery is preposterous. I do like the dust jacket artwork, however. Note: This also belongs on the “Dartmouth College in mysteries” list if there is one.
Cliff Campbell, “Frozen Assets.” All Sports Magazine, March, 1943
By all appearances, the goalie for the visiting team has been offered a $500 bribe by the gamblers. To prove to his coach he’s not on the take he had better win the game that night, even though that will put his life in jeopardy. Or will it? Possible crime and death threat in a hockey context qualify this excellent short story for inclusion.
Grant Lane (Steve Fisher), “The Undercover Kid.” Mammoth Detective, May 1944
Quoting from several pages:
[Danny Garrett, the Shoe-Shine Kid Detective] said, “Don’t look like two guys trying to be palsy-walsy. What’s on your minds?”
“Well,” murmured Slug O’Donnel, “we were wonderin’ about tomorrow night. You were going to that hockey game at the [Madison Square] Garden, weren’t you?”
The kid’s face brightened. Every year one of his old customers – a banker downtown – gave him a ticket to this game, the lead game of the season, and Danny had been looking forward to it for weeks. “Sure!” he said quickly. “I’ve got a ticket–“ He paused, his blue eyes clouding. He knew from the expression on Mike Ryan’s heavy Irish face that something was coming.
“You see, kid,” started Ryan, "we’ve got a little job, a tough assignment, sort of. We need your help.”
Slug added, “Yeah. It’s got to be handled right away, too.”
“What?” asked Danny.
“We’re trying to locate a guy,” said Mike Ryan.
Danny looked at them. He frowned. Then he said, “So do you have to work nights in order to find a person? Why did you ask me about tomorrow night? Nothing in the world is going to make me miss that hockey–”
“This guy we want is a murderer,” interrupted Mike Ryan.
“More than that!” put in Slug. “A cop killer. Remember Tommy Shevlin from the D.A.’s office, kid?”
Danny nodded, his eyes clouding. (Page 228)
[Upon hearing more reasons he should help– ]
Danny sighed and looked hopelessly at his two friends. “Then you’re right back where you started from. Why get me all upset about that hockey game? There’s no reason why I still can’t go– ”
They kept talking. Danny argued with them. His heart had been set on seeing that hockey game the following night. (Page 229)
I’m sorry for quoting such a long passage, but it shows how important the opportunity to see a big league game was to a New York City kid. Funny his cop buddies didn’t offer to get him a ticket to some other game in compensation. Funny, too, that there is no more mention of hockey in the story’s remaining eight pages. This is a series character so maybe he actually can attend a game in another story.
Jerome and Harold Prince, “Finger Man.” EQMM, Oct 1945
Submitted by Marv Lachman. He says this story includes a scene during a game at Madison Square Garden.
Jackson V. Sholz, “Hot on Ice.” Five Novel Magazine, Jan-Feb, 1947
A rare oddity: an otherwise typical sports story with a strong criminal plot. The story is typical, the longshot beats the odds and wins, with the typical romantic element of boy meets girl, girl angry with boy, girl later loves boy.
The criminal part is that the deceased uncle owes the local thug money secured by the local hockey club and rink and the local airport. The thug wants the airport for his private use and neglects the hockey club and rink to cut off the cash flow that could pay off the loan.
So the prodigal nephew, returning after five tough years in the service, rebuilds the hockey club into a winner playing rumdum teams that draw small crowds. The last chance is to get a match against a rival community who the locals hate, winner takes all of the ticket sales money, on the night before the loan matures. Provided by Monte Herridge.
O. B. Myers, “Wanted.” G-Men Detective, September 1947 (reprinted in Top Detective Annual, 1953)
“Is it because of the hockey scandal, Jim?” Julie asked hestitantly.
The papers for the last few days had been full of an attempt to fix hockey games by bribing two or three key players. Brother Berlin had been arrested and questioned by the D.A. He had insisted that he was acting only on his own, but nobody believed that. The police, and the sporting world as well, were sure that he was backed by a syndicate of big-time gamblers, and the D.A. was making strong efforts to link certain notorious names with the deal. Brother Berlin had always spent a lot of time here in Ferry’s office.
Jim shook his head. “They’re running stolen cars through that shop. I’m sure of it. And I don’t want any part of it.” He eyed Julie sharply. “Was Ferry in that hockey fix?”
Her lips trembled. “I don’t know. I don’t know, Jim.”
“Brother Berlin was supposed to be released this morning. Has he been in here?”
Now her cheeks were ashen. “No. He – he’s been killed.” (Top Detective Annual, 1953, page 82.)
Robert Martin, “Dolls of Death.” Dime Detective, July 1948
New client Evelyn Sand to P.I. Jim Bennett: “Please help me. I knew about you before I went to your apartment tonight. And I saw you once at a hockey game – a friend pointed you out to me. I liked the way you looked, so big and dark...” (Page 49.)
Cleveland-based Bennett should have been well-aware of the hometown Barons, perennially the best team in minor league hockey.
Robert Leslie Bellem, “Quickie Kill.” Hollywood Detective, Jan 1950 [contained in Roscoes in the Night, Adventure House, 2003]
When I [Dan Turner, the Hollywood Detective] lamped her dimensions I felt goose pimples the size of hockey pucks sprouting on my rind. (Roscoes, page 160).
Michael Gilbert, “Ticker Batson’s Last Job.” Manchester Sunday Chronicle, May 7, 1950; collected in The Man Who Hated Banks, Crippen & Landru, 1997
It was with a single plastic charge of tonite that [Ticker Batson] took the lock out of the safe of the West London Ice Stadium two years ago. (Page 27, C&L, 1997)
Stretching the limits here, I include the mention of what I presume to be an ice rink where hockey would have been played. Ice hockey has been played in the UK since the last part of the nineteenth century, depending largely on inported players.
Robert Martin, “Married to Murder.” 15 Story Detective, August 1950
P.I. Lee Fiske reminiscing over old flame, Ann Stark: We drank together, and ate together, saw hockey games and movies and plays, and, of course, The Blue Danube became our favorite song. (Page 13)
Martin doesn’t name a specific location for Fiske’s home base in this story, but Toledo is stated in other Fiske stories. Built in 1947, the Toledo Sports Arena would still be a new facility in 1950, and the Toledo Mercurys were a powerhouse in the International Hockey League.
Robert Martin, Sleep, My Love. Dodd Mead, 1953, Dell 1953, Frederick Muller (UK), 1955
Behind her on the over-mantel was the glittering row of trophies – golf, tennis, swimming, bowling, archery, softball and some I didn’t recognize, soccer and wrestling, no doubt, I thought, and maybe hockey and football. (Page 149, Muller edn)
Dev Collans with Stewart Sterling, I Was a House Detective. E. P. Putnam 1954, Pyramid 1957
This is supposed to be non-fiction but it ought to be read by detective story fans.
...and the lecherous couple who have usually been eyeing each other dismally and confining their intimate remarks to the Dodgers’ chances or the Rangers’s scoring will be ‘surprised’ apparently in flagrante delicto, as the legal bigwigs nice-nelly it. (Page 89, Pyramid edition.)
James Jones, Some Came Running. Charles Scribner’s Sons 1957, Signet special abridgment 1958
“Come on, sit down,” Dewey said.
’Bama shook his head, grinning. “I got to make my rounds.” Then he seemed to think better of it and slid into the booth temporarily. “Wait a minute,” he said to Dave. “Whats (sic) on the agenda for tonight?” he asked the others. “Theres (sic) a good hockey game over at Indianapolis.”
“Yeah and I wanted to see that game,” Dewey said. (Page 36 of the Signet abridged edition.)
Because there are illegal acts committed throughout, and after some debate, I have included this more mainstream novel, plus it gives me the opportunity to express my disatisfaction of spending the time and efforts plowing through the 600+ rambling pages. I very much like the 1958 movie version (with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Shirley MacLaine), and recommend it to everyone. Can’t do that for the book.
James Moffatt, Blue Line Murder. 1965
Another suggestion by Jon Breen. I haven’t read this yet but according to Jon, it’s “about that famous Canadian private eye, Johnny Canuck.”
Joe T. Hensley, Deliver Us to Evil. Doubleday, 1971
[Lawyer Don Robak’s partner ] The Senator stood up hurriedly “Horse hockey!” in response to an insulting remark by the state governor. (Page 154.)
Emma Lathen, Murder Without Icing. Simon & Schuster, 1972; Pocket Books, 1973. (Suggested by Jon Breen and by Joy Matkowski.)
The whole book revolves around the intrigues of a New York City National Hockey League franchise. A longer commentary on this novel will be found here.
NOTE: The 1981 Lathen novel Going for the Gold set during the 1980 Lake Placid Winter Olympics is primarily about the skiing competition but may mention hockey.]
George V. Higgins, The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Random House, 1972; G. K. Hall, 1973, Ballantine, 1980, Penguin, 1987, Henry Holt, 1995, 2000
Submitted by Jim Beaver and Kerry J. Schooley. Hockey is mentioned at four places in the novel. On page 109 (1995 edition), the hood Scalisi “was watching the Broons [sic].” Local U.S. Treasury chief Waters’ plans for the evening were altered by the arrest of gun dealer Jackie Brown: “I had tickets for the Bruins game tonight.” (page 116).
On page 172 bartender Dillon has an invitation for Eddie Coyle: “... a friend of mine ... tells me ... he can’t go to the Broons tonight. So how about you forget your troubles and come to the game with me, huh? We’ll have some dinner, I’ll take the night off, we see a good game. Rangers. Whaddaya say?”
They do go to the Boston Garden to watch the game (pages 174-176) and there is much hockey description, making me misty-eyed as I remember the sport from those long ago days.
This one also mentions squid, if anyone is keeping that list.
Edith L. Taylor, “I’ll Be The Judge, I’ll Be The Jury.” Collected in Killers of the Mind – Annual Anthology of the Mystery Writers Of America, edited by Lucy Freeman, Random House, 1974
Letty: “Got the car?”
Sally: “Jimmy’s. He’s at hockey camp. Go ahead. I’ll close up.” (Page 25)
Richard Curtis, Death in the Crease. Warner 1975; eBooks.com 1999
Submitted independently by Marv Lachman and Linda Panszczyk. Part of a series featuring Dave Bolt, a sports agent, and concerning claims by a former player that another player took a bribe. On Linda’s To Be Read list, so you may want to add it to your own. Marv is not so sure about that.
William Bankier, “Wednesday Night at the Forum.” AHMM, August 1977
Submitted by Marv Lachman.
Donald Chaikin, “Havoc on Ice.” EQMM, Oct 1977
Submitted by Marv Lachman. In this one a murder is committed at a game.
William Bankier, “The Missing Missile.” AHMM, Feb 27, 1980
Submitted by Marv Lachman. In this story a hockey star goes missing.
Loren D. Estleman, Angel Eyes. Pinnacle, 1984
What I [P.I. Amos Walker] don’t know about the brain would fill Joe Louis Arena. (Page 227)
Sarah Paretsky, Deadlock. Doubleday, 1984; Ballantine, 1984; Dell, 1992
I read this one shortly after it came out, but I had forgotten about it when I started this list! In the second Warshawsky novel V. I. finds herself investigating the death of her cousin, Bernard “Boom Boom” Warshawsky. Until he shattered his ankle he skated for the [Chicago] Black Hawks and “he’d been the game’s biggest hero since Bobby Hull before Wayne Gretzky came along.”
William Bankier, “Dead Like Dogs.” EQMM, April 1985
Submitted by Marv Lachman. Also by Kerry J. Schooley who advises: “Peter Sellers and I have just edited another collection of Canadian noir fiction stories which will come out in November, entitled Revenge. It [is] about a third rate puck pusher who is about to extend his career by playing in England, when the goalie ... who has set up the tryout is murdered.”
J. L. Pouvoir, “The Great Befriendment.” EQMM, Oct 1985
Marv Lachman rates this tale of international hockey and politics coming together during the Prague World Championship tournament “a good story.”
J. S. Borthwick, The Student Body. St. Martin’s 1986; paperback editions, 1987,1991.
From the paperback cover: The Winter Carnival at this Maine college had it all – hockey games, ice sculptures – and a corpse... Reported by Steve Lewis.
Robert Gray, “If There’s Anything We Can Do.” AHMM, mid-December 1986
About hockey on television. Marv Lachman considers this also to be a “good story.”
Sally Chapman, Raw Data. St. Martin’s, 1991
His [NSA specialist Vic Paoli] body and attitude was that of a hockey player. (Page 51.)
Gordon Colter, Shooting Script. Morrow, 1992
At the end of the living room, a tennis racquet, a hockey stick, and a soccer ball made a free-form arrangment. (Page 162.)
Eric Zweig, Hockey Night in the Dominion of Canada. Lester, 1992.
I found this one on the Hockey in Print website where it is described as “a high-spirited thriller about a plot to assassinate Prime Minister Winfrid Laurier set in 1910 and featuring the historical Renfrew Millionaires hockey team.”
Ed Dee, 14 Peck Slip. Warner, 1994
“Who you [Willie “Flat Nose” Greco, sports bookie] bullshitting straight job?” [NYPD detective Joe] Gregory said. “They’re getting you out for the Super Bowl, the N C double A’s, hockey playoffs, the NBA playoffs. It’s the book maker’s season.” (Page 132.)
Anthony Bruno, Bad Apple. Delacorte, 1994
Sitting at the kitchen table, [Mike Tozzi, undercover FBI agent] sipped from a New Jersey Devils mug and made a face. (Page 42.)
Julie Robitaille, Iced: a Kit Powell Mystery. St Martin’s, 1994.
This turned up on the Michigan City (IN) Public Library’s site.
Roy Macgregor, THE SCREECH OWL SERIES. McClelland and Stewart, 1995
I had not considered juvenile mysteries before, but after looking into this series suggested by Shauna Scott, I will include it. There have been 18 titles published so far (plus The Screech Owls Scrapbook) about a kids’ hockey team encountering one mysterious circumstance after another.
Listen to these titles: Murder at Hockey Camp, The Night They Stole the Stanley Cup, Murder at the Winter Games. Amazon.com shows still more titles scheduled for publication through 2005, so there must be something right about these stories. There is even a website for you to learn more about the series. Intended for readers age 10 and older. Hey – that includes just about everybody here.
Ed Dee, Bronx Angel. Warner, 1995
Anything’s possible, but between sets we stayed in the back room. Watched the Rangers game. [Sunday, April 10, 1994, 2 sets finishing around 12:10. (Pages 16, 154.) The Rangers did play the New York Islanders on this date, losing 5-4.]
... stores on either side: an immaculate new Gap and an official sports logo store, the windows filled with Knicks and Rangers paraphernalia. (Page 70.)
It wasn’t even noon and the bar was packed. The Rangers and Knicks were playoff contenders. (Page 71.)
[“Mr. Fashion,” a bookie] “I’m losing football, hockey, baskets, college baskets, everything.” (Page 71.)
“Who – [Gregory] stretched out the word – played for the Yankees, the Knicks, and the Rangers, all in the same season?” [Eddie Layton, the organist] (Page 75.)
Leigh, Robert, The Turner Journals. Walker, 1996
[NYPD Detective Sargeant Dennis] McQueen enjoyed an occasional Mets game, or Knicks game, or Rangers game, and even liked to go to the track.
Janice Law, Cross-Check. St. Martin’s, 1997; Worldwide, 1998
This is another suggestion from Steve Lewis: “PI Anna Peters investigates a murder related to professional hockey in the Washington DC area.”
I looked forward to reading this, especially in light of the recent case of Mike Danton, former NHL player who plead guilty July 16, 2004, to federal charges connected to a murder- for-hire plot against his agent.
Actually the novel covers quite a bit of ground. While Anna Peters’ security firm is based in D.C., most of the story takes place in Florida and quite a bit of the rest is in Quebec province. Just about everybody looks good for the killer, but what’s the greatest motive? After she’s learned the answer will Anna survive long enough to tell anyone before the next season starts? Yes, a bit melodramatic. The hockey parts seem plausible but the story is mainly during the off season.
Diane Mott Davidson, The Grilling Season. Bantam, 1997
From the publisher’s note accompanying an eBay offering of this title: “Hired to cater a hockey party, [caterer and amateur sleuth] Goldie [Schulz] comes up with a winning menu featuring ... succulent Goalie Grilled Tuna and iced Stanley Cupcakes.”
Oh, yes, then there’s matter of her good friend suing Goldie’s ex-husband for malpractice, as if he didn’t have enough to worry about being arrested for his girlfriend’s murder.
I haven’t read this one but I’m intrigued. I hope the food’s ready in time for the opening face-off.
Steve Hamilton, Winter of the Wolf Moon. St. Martin’s / Thomas Dunne, 2000
Kit Erdman supplied this entry [also submitted by “Mark” on the Rara-Avis Yahoo group]. “A great read, [it] opens with a hockey game when Alex McKnight’s friend, Vinnie LeBlanc, convinces him to fill in as goalie for his hockey team. The scene kicks off the mystery, and there are a few other scenes when Alex is looking for someone in local ice rinks, but the story line doesn’t focus on hockey.”
However, this hockey game is crucial to the rest of the tale, as it establishes a sharp conflict between McKnight and the drug-crazed leader of the opposing team that drives the action through to the end of the novel. I’ll second Kit’s assessment.
Elizabeth Gunn. Six-Pound Walleye. Walker, 2001; Worldwide Library, 2002
This is the fourth title in a police procedural series set in Minnesota involving character Jakes Hines, Chief of Detectives. Suggested by Steve Lewis.
Deep winter in the far north, a peaceful, quiet time of year, serene and restful... The spell is broken by a riot breaking out among the hockey team members (which includes the police chief’s son) in the high school parking lot, a school boy waiting for the bus drops to the ground with a gunshot wound, a dog is shot – can spring be far behind?
Lawrence Block, “Let’s Get Lost.” Collected in Enough Rope, William Morrow, 2002; also in High Stakes, edited by Robert Randisi, Signet, 2003
Call-girl Elaine tells Matt Scudder: “I got a call from a client. A Madison Avenue guy, maybe an agency vice president, suits from Tripler’s, season tickets for the Rangers, house in Connecticut.” (Enough Rope, page 728).
Jason Starr, Tough Luck. Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 2003
From Jason himself: “In my novel Tough Luck, set in 1984, there are a number of hockey references. In the first chapter a character is watching an Islanders-Flyers game [on TV at a friend’s], and there is a reference to Phil Esposito. I may have mentioned hockey in Nothing Personal or Fake ID.”
James Powell, “The Amontillado Club.” EQMM, May 2003
“[Humphries’] last detective novel, A Snowball’s Chance, had sold even less well than its predecessor, Crimes Blacker than Hockey Pucks.” (Page 71.)
Jeffrey Ewener, “A Model Murder.” EQMM, May 2003
“Jim Lake had been a pretty predictable man... His interests, his politics, his haircut – none of it presented any surprises. He could talk comfortably and with seeming authority on any subject going – the Maple Leafs or the Blue Jays, the Canadian dollar ... every word of it could be found in the pages of the previous week’s Globe and Mail...” (Page 81.) Note: Two stories in the same issue. Missed the hat trick despite reading the rest of the issue very carefully.
Sara Paretsky, Blacklist. Putnam, 2003, Signet, 2004
From the Signet edition, page 121: People were screaming at each other with the heavy venom of a hockey game.
And there are four scattered references to V.I.’s now deceased cousin Boom Boom, who formerly starred with the Chicago Blackhawks, and whose death was the subject of Deadlock.
Robert B. Parker, Back Story. Putnam, 2003
The evening was called Life Savor and, in addition to Hawk, it drew a celebrity crowd.... Will McDonough was there, and Bobby Orr... (Page 209.)
Note: Number Four Bobby Orr, if you recall, even had a small part in the Spenser for Hire television episode “Watercolors.”
Max Allan Collins, Two for the Money. Hard Case Crime, 2004
[Nolan] “Golf pros aren’t athletes. FOOTBALL players are athletes. HOCKEY players are athletes.” (Page 234).
Robert J. Randisi, “The Listening Room.” Included in Murder and All That Jazz, Robert J. Randisi, editor, Signet 2004
[Truxton Lewis] used to enjoy flying, but that had ceased to be fun even before September 11. Too many families with kids, or hockey teams or glee clubs or idiots who went on spring break. (Page 243.)
Richard Aleas, Little Girl Lost. Hard Case Crime, 2004
There was top drawer and there was second rate in New York the same as anywhere else, but this wasn’t even second rate, it was tenth rate. Score’s was a ‘gentleman’s club’ where, between dances, you could get a rare prime rib and watch hockey games on flat-screen TVs. (Page 17.)
Budge Burgess, “Cold Call.” EQMM, June 2004
McKendrick found the only available weapon – Kirsty’s old hockey stick. (Page 85.) And:
Clutching the hockey stick tightly, McKendrick crawled across the darkened room. (Page 86.)
This story takes place in contemporary Scotland and the stick may be for playing field hockey rather than ice hockey, but just in case...
Steven Owad. Bodycheck. RendezVous, 2005.
Chris Wallace reported this one. It concerns the killing of an ex-major leaguer reduced to playing for a minor league hockey team in Alberta, Canada. Comment: Based on their catalog descriptions, the Rendezvous Press Crime offerings sound like they ought to be investigated further.
NOTE: Please expect this list to grow as more entries are found and inserted in their proper chronological order. Your assistance is welcomed.
James Jones, Some Came Running, 1957. Added: 2/8/06
Steven Owad. Bodycheck, 2005. Added: 4/18/06
J. S. Borthwick, The Student Body, 1986. Added: 4/18/06
Elizabeth Gunn. Six-Pound Walleye, 2001. Added: 4/18/06
James Powell, “The Amontillado Club,” 2003. Added: 4/18/06
Jeffrey Ewener, “A Model Murder,” 2003/ Added: 4/18/06
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