Murder at First Pitch: Ball Park Mysteries
by Nicole Asselin
About Murder at First Pitch
Murder at First Pitch: Ball Park Mysteries
1st in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
Pandamoon Publishing (September 4, 2019)
Paperback: 188 pages
Digital ASIN: B07TDGL668
32-year-old Madeline Boucher’s Grandfather instilled a love in the Boston Red Sox into her from an early age and increased that love by purchasing a local Independent League Baseball team, the Abington Armadillos.
After losing her corporate job in Boston, Madeline realizes her best option is to join the family baseball business. As the new “Social Media Director” for the team, Madeline attends her first business function and witnesses an argument between her brother Ben, and a strange man.
A few days later when walking the ballpark during her early morning hours, she finds the body of a man beaten to death with a baseball bat in the Visitor’s Dugout. It was the man her brother was arguing with at the party. Madeline is concerned that her brother would be considered a suspect. Through the local Detectives and Davis – the head of security for the ballpark she learns the victim is Christopher Dailey, a local baseball scout and prior felon.
When her brother is arrested and taken to the police station, she realizes she needs to figure out who the real culprit is, so her brother doesn’t take the fall for something she knows he didn’t do.
I have watched a lot of baseball over the years so I was very excited to read Murder at First Pitch. I was not disappointed at all!
Maddie Boucher’s family owns the Abington Armadillos, an Independent League Baseball Team where pro players not ready to give up the game play with up and coming players with hopes to someday make the Big Leagues. Maddie’s corporate job has been phased out and she has now decided to take a more active role in the family business with her brother Ben and her parents.
Maddie usually takes a morning stroll around the ballpark, taking in everything from the maintenance crew getting the field ready and the scouts, coaches, and players meeting, and the team practices. A few days before the big grand opening game of the season Maddie notices something in one of the dugouts. A closer look shows her it is a body, a man who appears to have been badly beaten with a baseball bat. A man she saw her brother arguing with at a park party earlier in the week. She later learns that the man was a local scout with a felony record and yes, the police have her brother Ben on the top of their suspect list. She is quick to decide she needs to set the record straight and prove her brother’s innocence. Just when she thinks she has struck out a wild pitch brings a new suspect up to the plate. Maddie just needs to bat a little cleanup before she passes her info on to the cops.
I really liked the family dynamic in this book. They are close-knit with a huge responsibility but everyone can see how much they love baseball, the park, and each other. Family businesses can be stressful but the Boucher family wants their patrons to have fun and they have fun making sure they do. The ballpark is their home away from home and even after a murder they stick together and try to keep things as normal as possible.
Madeline Boucher is a strong protagonist. She followed the clues quite logically and wasn’t afraid to get in people’s faces or hide and eavesdrop to get answers. I enjoyed how she tried to keep the head of security appraised of her findings, there is a definite romantic spark there. The author pitched in some twists and red herrings making the mystery tough to solve. I was totally captivated following Maddie and was surprised when the murderer was revealed.
Ms. Asselin has packed a lot into 188 pages. The book has a nice flow and is full of words that bring the Abington Armadillos complex and surrounding area clearly into focus. She has introduced characters I already care about and want to know better. She has hit this series debut out of the park. Cozy baseball fans will love Murder at First Pitch.
About Nicole Asselin
Nicole Asselin grew up a Navy Brat, and spent her formative high school years in the middle of Pennsylvania but always identified with her New England roots. Nicole’s family is originally from Connecticut, and her Grandpa Asselin introduced her into the Red Sox nation where she has been a member for her whole life and her Grandma Asselin introduced her to the world of mystery novels.
Nicole graduated from Curry College in Milton Mass with a degree in English/Creative Writing, minoring in Dance in 2004. She also attended George Mason University and received a Master’s in Arts Management… Now working just outside of Boston as a Technical Writer, she lives on the South Shore of Massachusetts with her three cats Julia, Jacques, and Madeline (no relation to the main character of her book).
Nicole is a current member of Sisters in Crime (National and New England) and the Mystery Writers of America. She sits on the Board of Directors for the NE branches of both groups as Social Media Liaison.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”