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We just finished reading “Double Play,” the new novel by Robert B. Parker, author of the Spenser series. And this is one terrific piece of work, exploring the relationship between Jackie Robinson and a white thug named Joseph Burke who is hired by Branch Rickey to protect Robinson during his first year in the major leagues.

(For European and other MNB users unfamiliar with baseball, Jackie Robinson was the first black man allowed to play professional baseball. The year was 1947, and post-war racial tensions ran high in the US. Robinson was a remarkable athlete and an even more remarkable man in how he handled the pressure and still managed to perform as one of the best athletes ever to play the game.)

While weaving familiar themes about love and honor into the narrative, Parker paints a compelling portrait of both Burke and Robinson, opening for the reader a window onto a fascinating time in American history. This clearly is a work of love for the author, as the book also contains memories of what it was like to grow up in Massachusetts in the late forties and to be, for some strange reason, a Brooklyn Dodger and Jackie Robinson fan.

This is a great read, and a grand slam by Parker. We loved it.

And while you’re reading, here are a couple of wines you might like to sip…

  • We loved a 2001 Jacob’s Creek Shiraz from southeastern Australia – it was smooth as can be, with plenty of rich berry flavors. Excellent.

  • And we really enjoyed a 2000 Familia Zuccardi “Q” Malbec from Argentina…which while a little acidic on first tasting, mellowed out quite nicely by the fourth or fifth sip. This had a real nice cinnamon thing going for it, and we recommend it highly.

Have a great weekend. And Slainte!
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