Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Farewell, Mr. Parker

Farewell, Mr. Parker
Seeing authors in person, is much like meeting radio personalities.  Or perhaps actors.  They often look a little different, particularly those who have been using the same author photo for twenty years or so. They often have different personalities than one might assume based on their books.  (Obviously some peeks through and all that, the storyteller always impacts the story.)
I discovered the Robert B. Parker Spenser novels after the TV show (which I adored, I also liked the short lived "Hawk" spin off).  I read the books almost entirely out of order, snapping up both used and new as I happened across them. When I finally got a copy of Early Autumn I saw why everyone always raved about it.  I also enjoyed the Sunny Randall stories which occupy a similar version of Boston. 
Years ago, when the DC "Shear Madness" was about to achieve third place in the longest running live theater shows (behind two other "Shear Madnesses") they invited some special guests.  My friend and I went, being "Shear Madness" fans and mystery fans both.  They had a local report and a DC medical examiner playing the parts of - well - local reporter and DC Medical examiner.  And they had Carol Higgins Clark and Robert B. Parker, who in the second act were encouraged to put in a plug for their favorite killer.  (The killer in the show is determined by audience vote.) Carol Higgins Clark was game and stated ehr reasons for believing it was one character.  Robert B. Parker got up and said that, well, he couldn't decide, they all seemed very plausible.  And really, that was much like a Spenser novel where a lot of people seem to have conflicting desires and Spenser keeps poking until someone finally tips the balance. 
So, I am saddened to learn he died at his desk.  Certainly, my thoughts are with Joan, to whom he dedicated almost (if not every) one of his books.
Link from ALOTT5MA