Wes Drexel is the nom de plume of a Chicago area lawyer, journalist, author and hoops fan named Steve Fiffer who has written for the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Inside Sports and other publications. And now he has a mystery book out.
“Murder At The Final Four” focuses on Jimmy Bishop at Central Prairie U., whose team made it to the NCAA finals. But he’s in trouble. Hours after he threatened to kill Alan Sternberg, a New York Times sportswriter, for doing a book on him called “A Year On The Edge,” the writer turned up dead.
(You’re now supposed to make the connection that Bob Knight is stil upset at John Feinstein for his writing “Season On The Brink,” and eventually, Feinstein ends up deceased.)
The title game in Chicago only 48 hours away, so Bishop has to figure out a way to keep himself out of jail, prepare his team and solve the murder.
From there, an episode of “Scooby Doo” breaks out — a beautiful young lawyer named Lydie Wynn agrees to help Bishop follow clues that lead to blackmail, adultery, backstabbing at the Times, and more.
What does it say about the state of college athletics? We’ll have to see when someone reads this and turns it into an episode of “Law & Order.”
Here’s the way the book begins in Chapter 1 (via Smashwords.com, linked here):
Jimmy Bishop coached the last six minutes of the NCAA basketball semi-final between Central Prairie University and the UCLA Bruins dressed as a prairie dog.
“I knew there was a reason I turned down the Notre Dame job,” Bishop told his nephew Martin, the usual inhabitant of the Central Prairie mascot’s costume, as he struggled to get his 6’3″, 230-pound body into the furry outfit in the team’s locker room. “There’s no goddamn way I could pull this off if I had to play a leprechaun.”
The idea to disguise himself as a rodent so he could get back to courtside had been, like many of Bishop’s decisions, a spontaneous one. Leaving the floor to the jeers of the Bruins partisans and the cheers of the CPU faithful, Bishop had felt a furry paw on his neck and heard Martin say, “That’s okay, Uncle Jimmy. We’ll get ‘em without you.”
Damned if you will,” Bishop replied. Then the inspiration: “You hightail your ass into the locker room with me right now, Martin.”