Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: Spenser

Date: 16 Dec 2000

I don't post very often, but I can't resist speaking up in defense of the Spenser books. Although I agree the quality has deteriorated over the years, I still find them thoroughly enjoyable romp. I feel as if I'm sitting with old friends I don't see very often and smiling at their ongoing riffs.

When I first joined this list, I was surprised to see Parker listed among the hard-boiled authors. Of course, I've never understood the argument that p.i.'s are intrinsically hard-boiled. I think of hard-boiled as describing the attitude of the protagonist, not his job.

I will go so far as to defend Susan, as I can easily see a man like Spenser being permanently enamored of her, eating disorders and all. In fact, I will even defend Pearl, the Wonder Dog. As a dog-lover myself, I've had reason to meet many hard-edged, macho guys who become completely silly over their pets. One tattooed and leather-jacketed friend of mine talks baby talk to his miniature poodle. Whether or not I find Susan and Pearl appealing is rather beside the point; I find them very believable as a part of Spenser's life, especially the aging Spenser.

I also would like to take a minute to thank the folks on this list for pointing me toward George Pelecanos (and how nice to see you on the list!). I've tried many of the authors recommended here and to be honest, many of them don't appeal to me, but the ones that do are literary treasures. Pelecanos was one of my two "finds of the year," thanks to you, and I'm anxiously awaiting that next book. (The other find was Jonathan Lethem's Motherless Brooklyn, in case you were curious.)


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