Harvey Blissberg

Created by Richard Rosen

Neither Al nor Mary Blissberg felt that baseball was a great career choice for their son, but he signed with the Boston Red Sox after his last year at Boston University anyway. Always a bit ambivalent about going against his parents' wishes, HARVEY BLISSBERG nonetheless had five good years playing outfield with the Sox (with a batting average of .268). And then he was traded off to the Providence Jewels, an expansion team. The murder of his roommate on the team, Rudy Furth, and Harvey's subsequent involvement in the investigation, detailed in Strike Three, You're Dead (1984), the first book in the series, took a heavy toll on Harvey's enthusiasm for the game, and after that season ended, Harvey resigned. Unsure what to do with the rest of his life, he decided to try his hand at private investigating, working under family friend Jerry Bellaggio's license.

Not that Harvey's left baseball far behind. Many of his cases involve the sport, and he lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with Mickey Slavin, a local sportscaster. Meanwhile, his older brother, Norman, who's an English professor at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, is the real baseball nut. He makes late night, long distance calls to Harvey to grill him on baseball trivia.

Harvey's an enjoyable character, an soft-spoken, affable type who likes to cook and to read (he earned the nickname "The Professor" in his rookie year) and he tends to rely more on his wits and perseverance than his brawn. Sure, he's a big guy, but he's already developing an ex-jock's gut, which he refers to as "this thing he...had to carry around." He's a moderate drinker and he smokes Winstons, when he can mooch them. About his biggest quirk is his fondness for Vicks Vapo-Rub.

Richard Rosen is a Harvard grad who also attended Brown University. He's worked as a Playboy assistant editor, a restaurant chef, a writing instructor, a columnist and restaurant critic for Boston magazine, a humourist and television commentator. He's also worked as a writer for a late-night network comedy show, which no doubt helped with the background for his third novel, Saturday Night Dead (1988), which takes place at a certain late-night network comedy show.

Strike Three, You're Dead won the 1984 Edgar for Best First Novel.



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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