Jan 19, 2010
I felt a real loss today with the news that crime novelist Robert B. Parker died Monday at age 77, sitting at his desk, working on his next novel. The prolific Parker published 37 Spenser mysteries, nine more featuring North Shore police chief Jesse Stone, six with Hub private investigator Sunny Randall and an additional 13 books that ranged from westerns to young adult fiction to two novels starring Raymond Chandler’s famed detective Philip Marlowe.
But it will be Spenser, the larger-than-life private eye with an equally large heart - a private eye committed to righting wrongs whatever that may take - who will be Parker’s most enduring literary legacy. He lived and worked on the streats of Boston for years, solving crimes, working on his relationship with Cambridge psychologist Susan Silverman and his longterm friendship with his second gun, the implacable and ferocious Hawk. Other memorable characters came and went - policeman Belson and Quirk, the flirtatios attorney Rita Fiore, the psychopathic kid shooter Ty-Bop. But in the end, it was always about Spenser.
For more than thirty years I've devoured each of his novels as soon as they hit the shelves (it pays to be married to a librarian). The television series called "Spense: For Hire" barely scratched the surface of this complicated sleuth, and several television movies did just a bit better. Click here to listen to smooth jazz artist George Howard play the theme song to the television series.
Despite the death of his creator, for me Spenser will always be alive, watching over his clients and friends, and serving as a thorn in the side of those who were not. For those who are as enthralled as I am, visit the Spenser fan site Bullets and Beer for more details than you could ever imagine were located in one place. For as the detective himself would say, "We'd be fools not too".