Apropos of Spencer in his dotage, does anyone recall a PI story published in the last decade in which there's an exchange between the PI and his assistant/secretary wherein the assistant complains about the [unnamed] detective novel she's reading, the implausible agility of its Korean-War-veteran hero and the obnoxiousness of his girl friend and their dog. The PI asks why she's continuing the read the book. She replies that she keeps hoping the novel's PI will come to his senses and shoot the dog, and then the girlfriend.
I can't remember much about that novel, but that bit made me laugh out loud. And I agreed, absolutely.
That said, I agree that the genre and those working in it owe a great deal to Parker and the early Spenser novels. And even the later ones often had snappy bits of dialog that made reading them not an entire waste of time.
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