49-52 and Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol.
1.) In the tradition of Hammett, Chandler and the other private-eye creators of the 1930's comes "The Godwulf Manuscript" by Robert B. Parker's locale is Boston, and his private-eye—a tough, wise-cracking, unafraid, lonely, unexpectedly literate type—is in many respects the very exemplar of the species.
There is a concern with human beings that rises at times to compassion and perhaps falls at other times to that commonish complaint among American novelists "psychology showing through".
But the seriousness that this indicates is always well compensated for by Parker's dialogue.
" The detective is less interesting, however, than his antagonist, a small, weak, lecherous professor of medieval literature who early in the story is revealed to be also a radical, dope pusher, and murderer.
This paragon is married to a huge, adoring woman who mothers him and eventually takes five bullets in the stomach so the little man can escape. Spenser finds him cowering in the bathtub where he has wet himself in terror.He is called in to investigate the theft of a 14th-century illuminated manuscript from a college library.Along the way he runs into student activists, the mob, drugs, sex and the usual package.Spenser still remains a smart aleck who shows his dislike for stupidity.He also is intelligent, educated, a gourmet cook and a mean man with his fists.[Promised Land] shows him gaining mastery over his material all of the time.The dialogue is good, without that cutesy-tough overtone one finds in so many imitators of Chandler, and while Spenser remains a bit self-romanticized, he is no more so than Marlowe and Archer.In "God Save the Child" he is hired to find a missing 15-year-old boy; then the ransom notes start arriving.Spenser solves the case, of course, but along the way there are shrewd thrusts that animate the writing.Spenser is a wisecracking guy in the firm tradition of the Chandler shamus, and above and beyond this all the conversations in the books are splendidly swift and sharp.Parker likes to refer to the minutiae of current American life or to that store of trivial memories that any 40-year-old American has, and this gives his pages a liveliness and an up-to-dateness which is decidedly refreshing. Parker has written five books starring Spenser, the tough Boston operator, a one-man army.