Dirty Water: A Red Sox Mystery by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Jere Smith

Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and Jere Smith‘s Dirty Water: A Red Sox Mystery is a unique murder mystery set against the backdrop of the 2007 Red Sox summer season. Fan favorites from Jason Varitek to David “Big Papi” Ortiz play minor to significant roles in uncovering the truth behind the death of Cinthia Sanchez, the abandonment of her child Arturo Sanchez (also known as Baby Ted Williams), and the Pestano Pipeline of illegal Cuban players making their way into Major League Baseball.

“Francona’s door opened just as the players, like statues come to life, moved at the same time. They spread out through the clubhouse, dashed through the shower room and bathrooms, rifled through the lockers, looked in the wastebaskets, under the trainers’ tables, rummaged through the equipment cases. Tito tried to make sense out of what Cochran was trying to tell him.” (Page 13)

Red Sox fans will love this novel, and those who read mysteries will enjoy this police procedural as well. Readers could take a few chapters to get into the novel with its story followed by blog posts and comments. What Dirty Water has that many other mystery novels don’t is a true feel for the city of Boston, Fenway, its fans, and the team. Smith and Smith are third and fourth generation Red Sox fans, and their knowledge shines through in every page as readers journey with Boston Police Detective Rocky Patel and Sargeant Marty Flanagan from Boston to Los Angeles to Florida and beyond.

“The sun is setting. The pock-marked ground is in shadows. The rookie thinks he sees a broken line–a groove; it cuts a faint four-foot-long path across the ground. His eyes follow the groove. He can make out more bits of that groove running toward Agassiz Road. Then he follows the groove in the other direction and not only makes out yet more bits and pieces heading into the reeds, he sees a second groove parallel to the first. He blinks. He leaps to his feet shouting to the two officers on patrol who have humored his hunt for “a clue.” They have actually seen far more behavior in unjaded rookies than what this guy was doing.” (Page 185-6)

Boston Police Detective Rocky Patel and Sargeant Marty Flanagan have different religions and methods, but each is dedicated to the job and justice. Beyond the mystery and the Red Sox trivia, Dirty Water uncovers the fear immigrants have of law enforcement authorities at the same time they struggle with the frustration of desiring justice from the same authorities. Overall, Dirty Water is a well crafted mystery, but readers may want a little more substance in terms of what motivates these characters, particularly those from immigrant families, to overcome their fears and join law enforcement.

My book club will be discussing this on August 29. I’ll keep everyone posted.


I forgot to provide you with Jere’s Blog A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory and the book’s blog, Dirty Water: A Red Sox Mystery. Check them out.

Giveaway Reminder:

1. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre (2 copies); Deadline August 14