Former baseball phenom Slots Resnick, now a middle-aged New York shamus, is hired by the Mets' front office to check out the background of Billie Joe Howlett--a Norville, Colorado, college kid they're thinking of signing to a multimillion-dollar contract. The first thing Slots learns is that if Billie signs, the major leagues will have its first female player! That is, if Slots can clear her of murdering her stepmom with her favorite baseball bat. Did Billie kill her because she was about to be disinherited? Did her best friend (and maybe lover) Ramona kill to keep Billie in the will? Maybe Billie's philandering stepdad Gordon, also about to be excised from that will, was involved. The more Slots searches, the more Billie's tragic past--her dad killed her mom, then turned the gun on himself; her brother committed suicide the same night--comes into focus, and, unluckily for the murderer, Billie has a gun in her hand when she finally understands both her past and present miseries. Slots (Major League Murder; Heroes Also Die) is okay company, but the is-she-or-isn't-she-a-lesbian poser is smarmy. Dandy subplot, though, about a ``dead'' mafioso resurfacing as a hick- town diner owner.