Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Mystery Writer Robert B. Parker Dead at 77

Robert B. Parker
Robert B. Parker died Monday in his home while sitting at his desk. He was 77. One critic described Parker as "the best American hard-boiled detective fiction since Ross MacDonald and Raymond Chandler."

Although Parker wrote four different detective series, he is most famous for the "Spenser" series about a Boston detective who solves crimes while surrounding himself with colorful characters. Parker was going to name his detective David Spenser, but didn't want to make his other son feel left out so Spenser's given name is not revealed.

Parker's wife, whom he met when they were toddlers at a birthday party, was a major influence in his life. Together they created a film company based in Boston, and they shared a nomination for best script for their collaboration on B.L. Stryker. His career as novelist didn't begin until Joan urged him to complete his Ph.D. and get a job in the teaching field so he would have more time for his writing. The Godwulf Manuscript, his first Spenser book, was written in two-and-a-half years and accepted by a publisher in just three weeks. He followed The Godwulf Manuscript with 37 more Spenser books.

Parker's other series include the Jesse Stone detective series; the Sunny Randall detective series—a female PI created for actor Helen Hunt to play in a film that never materialized; and the Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch western detective series.

Links of interest:

The Official Robert B. Parker Site

The JCLC Biography Resource Center (library card required)

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