Thursday, January 21, 2010

Robert B. Parker - 1932 - 2010

Robert B. Parker was one of my favorites. His detective series about Spenser (with an "s") was a true classic of the genre and he went on to write two other series, one starring Sunny Randall (another Boston P.I.) and one starring Jesse Stone (a police chief in a small Massachusetts town). Parker even wrote westerns!

But the star of his writing pantheon was Spenser. The first Spenser novel, The Godwulf Manuscript (1973) was written when he was still teaching at a university in Boston, and is about Spenser's efforts to retrieve a manuscript that was stolen from a unversity library. He went on to write 37 more titles in the Spenser series. My favorites, and ones that I highly recommend, are: Mortal Stakes (about the Boston Red Sox), Looking for Rachel Wallace (about a Lesbian author that Spenser is hired to protect) and A Catskill Eagle (Susan is in trouble and Spenser and Hawk spring to the rescue).

Parker did not always craft the most enduring of plots, but a visit with Spenser, Hawk and Susan was like a visit with old and dear friends - always enjoyable and remarkably entertaining.

Parker died of a heart attack, sitting at his writing desk working on his next novel - literally with his "writing boots on." He gave me hours of pleasant and thoughtful entertainment. He will be sorely missed. Meg

[For more details, read Parker's obituaruies in the New York Times and the Boston Globe. For a really interesting blog post AND an incredibly comprehensive list of tributes and information about Mr. Parker see Sarah Weinman's blog, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind.]



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