I started reading Parker back in the seventies, probably not with his
first book, maybe the second, but I did read them all from that point
on. I couldn't wait for the next one to come out (in PB). I think I was
disappointed in Stardust, so it was the last one I read. I wasn't
tempted to try the other series. I particularly liked Looking for Rachel
Wallace, picturing Mary Daly (radical lesbian feminist theologian who
taught in Boston).
At the time, I didn't know Parker was single-handedly keeping
alive/reviving PI fiction. He certainly deserves all kinds of credit for
paving the way for the both the classic hardboiled gumshoe and the
umpteen subgenres that have flourished since his introduction of
Spenser. I loved the plots, action, the cooking, Hawk, the steady
girlfriend (if not Susan herself)--until it all became just too repetitive.
On the negative side, I always found Spenser's fashion sense ludicrous:
the pale blue polyester jackets with navy turtlenecks, etc. He thought
he was so sharp! I also found Parker's terse "I said," "he said"
intrusive once I became aware of it. I know it's one of those "rules" of
contemporary writing: leave out the adverbs, don't even bother with the
descriptive verbs, let the dialogue itself express it all. But it's a
silly rule, if you ask me.
But overall, I got years of enjoyment out of many of his books and I'm
bound to reread at least some of them again. I just wanted to chime in
and say there are probably lots of us on the list who really enjoyed
Jim, thanks for your tribute and the Healey essay. Someone else gave a
link to a piece by Parker's son (sorry, I can't remember who). It was
very moving, and also shed some light on the Paul character (gay ballet
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