Thursday, January 01, 2009

"Dirty Water” by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Jere Smith

A BagelBards Book Review

“Dirty Water”
A Red Sox Mystery By Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Jere Smith
Hall of Fame Press, Kingston, RI price $22.95

Reviewed 1/1/09 by Paul Steven Stone

It’s another Sunday morning in Boston, summer’s in mid-flight and the Red Sox are on track to win their second set of bling-studded World Series rings in four years. Only it’s not just another Sunday morning in 2007. There’s a day-night doubleheader scheduled to kick off at noon, and a one-month-old baby boy abandoned in a backpack outside the players locker room at Fenway Park. And therein sounds the opening chord—sounding much like an infant’s cries—of a mystery that, before it’s done, will transit across murder, revenge, blackmail, immigrant smuggling and, enough Boston Red Sox lore and personalities to satisfy the hungriest citizens of Red Sox Nation.

The authors, a mother-son team and self-professed third and fourth generation Red Sox fans, have written a police procedural that’s as much devoted to revealing the insider’s world of Fenway Park as it is the culprits behind a multi-layered murder mystery. The fact that both the novel’s murder victims end up face down in the muddy waters of the Fens surrounding Fenway Park gives storyline weight as well as musical nuance to the book’s title. “Dirty Water” being not only a Boston-centric pop tune from the 1960’s, but more significantly the official Red Sox victory song played after every win at Fenway Park.

What adds spice to this chunky stew of baseball trivia and murder mystery is the appearance of actual Sox players and personalities who, though they only play minor roles, are brought into the storyline as living, breathing entities; pop idols for sure, but also fun-loving, sympathetic and slightly bawdy individuals. The novel’s two main characters, Boston Police Detective Rocky Patel and Sargeant Marty Flanagan offer a balance of cerebral clarity and dogged common sense, the former’s Hindu-based meditative techniques lending insight and direction to the latter’s old-fashioned Irish intuition. They know enough that, even when they’ve been led astray and fed the wrong leads, they never lose their grip on the right instincts. From the outset they’re committed to finding the killer that left the abandoned baby’s mother lying face down in…dirty water.

“Dirty Water” is a solid hit for mystery lovers and a grand slam for those Red Sox fans who enjoy reading whodunits as much as they enjoy a hometown sweep of the Yankees.

Paul Stone/ Ibbetson Update/ Jan. 1 2009

Paul Steven Stone is the author of: "Or So It Seems"

Reviewers have called it, “A Romp Through Time and Space,” “A Rollicking Spiritual Page-Turner,” and “ of the most compelling books I’ve read in a long time.”
They were talking about my new novel, “Or So It Seems”. Check it out for yourself at or on
Also available at: Circles of Wisdom, Andover; Harvard Book Store, Cambridge; Porter Square Books, Cambridge; Out Of The Blue Gallery, Cambridge; Westwinds Bookshop, Duxbury

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