RARA-AVIS: My two cents on Spense(r).

From: David White ( dpwhite@eden.rutgers.edu)
Date: 14 Dec 2000

I think there has always been a lot of bitterness toward Spenser especially on this list. I have always been a fan, and probably always will be (unless Parker creates an Evil twin Spenser or something like that). I am one of the many who think that Parker has gotten a chimp to come up with his latest plots as well. The early Spenser's were great, Parker revolutionized the PI in the seventies, I think. I mean, my info has never really been that great, but who else has given the PI a steady relationship, made him tackle a sensitized world, and have a PC code while not being exactly PC. (I don't think shooting two people in a park is exactly PC). Parker made Spenser's character real, early on. I believed there was an ex-boxer out there who would have this code and help these people, and yet still have a life. I still have a hard time believe there is some guy who has this code, but does nothing but sit in his office when he's not working and replay classic chess games (and hey I like Chandler a lot too). If you thought you once like Spenser and now you hate him, go back and read MORTAL STAKES, EARLY AUTUMN, and LOOKING FOR RACHAEL WALLACE. That is where Parker shines. Sure some of it is Marlowe taking on a modern world, in fact most of it is. But that is what makes it intersting, and as you go along, you'll see Spenser develop into his own person, not a Marlowe lookalike. Susan is annoying, and that's good because we haven't seen it before. He has a kid, in a way, with Paul Giacomin, and we haven't seen that before. Of course if all you want is Sam Spade beating up people, then you probably won't get that here and you will be disappointed. But early Spenser is good, in fact IMO one of the best. Up until Catskill Eagle. Then Spenser became the overblown, sappy, unchanging PI that he is. But hey the writing's still good. Now if only Parker would try.


PS By the way, George (Mr. Pelecanos?), thanks for the thesis info, and the next time you watch Bullit, count the number of hubcaps that come off Bullit's car. I believe the number is 6.

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