Forget the clunky titleespecially since the Hall of Fame is only the first stop on a daisy chain that begins when Boston p.i. Frank Branco wins a Fan's Fantasy radio contest that takes him to Cooperstown just in time to see the car crash that kills washed-up major-leaguer Herb Frawley. The local chief of police tells Frank there hasn't been a murder on his books in 20 years, and he aims to keep it that way, but Frawley's ex-wife, a gallery owner back in Provincetown, shares Frank's curiosity about why Herb's career suddenly collapsed in 1957, and his sense that Herb's fatal accident may not have been accidental. So before girlishly bedding Frank, she agrees to bankroll his trips to New York (an informative sports agent), New Jersey (the born-again niece of Herb's old Polo Grounds buddy Louis Merloni), and finally a Florida nursing home (Merloni himself). Thus far the plot has been nothing but a series of handoffs, as each of Herb's old acquaintances shrugs Frank off and passes him on to the next. But in Florida, a telltale bag of bones will make Herb's trail glow red-hot, linking his cold bat to a vanished Baseball Annie and an unusually vicious pornography racket before building to a fine fury back on a waterlogged Cape Cod.
Daniel (The Skelly Man, 1995, etc.) and his new teammate Carpenter, a CNN broadcaster, wait till the late innings before their game-winning barrage.