Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Still in Thrall to Spenser

I’d forgotten about this anniversary, but freelancer L. Wayne Hicks reminds us in CrimeReads that 2023 marks the 50th year since Boston writer Robert B. Parker introduced his now-famous private-eye protagonist, Spenser, in The Goldwulf Manuscript (1973). Hicks’ piece recalls the Spenser series’ history, critical reactions to it, television adaptations of the stories, and the other authors who have kept Parker’s characters alive since his death in 2010.

He concludes with a theory advanced by Mike Lupica—a Parker pal whose own first Spenser continuation novel, Broken Trust, is due out in November—as to “why Spenser has lasted so long”:
The characters, the humor, the back-and-forth interplay between Spenser and Hawk are part of the reason. “I think it was Raymond Chandler who said when things slow down, you have somebody come to the door with a gun. We all know how to do that. But Bob’s dialogue and Bob’s sense of humor and on top of all that his literate approach to all of this is what has made it work for half a century.”

Parker’s legacy is rooted in the characters he created. He lived long enough to see his books on the best-seller lists. Unfortunately, his death meant he never had the chance to meet his grandson. His name? Spenser, of course.
Click here to read the entirety of Hicks’ CrimeReads essay.

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