Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Painted Ladies and a Cree Indian named Sixkill

Rounding out 2011 with the late Robert B. Parker, Spenser went on the hunt for an art fraud in Painted Ladies.

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Parker's style of writing -  succinct, bantering,  and a dry sense of humor -  reminded me of the "just the facts, ma'am" dialogue of the TV show, Dragnet starring Jack Webb. Perhaps it was not only his prose that conjured up this observation, but the fact that a couple of days prior to reading Painted Ladies, Jack Webb's co-star, Harry Morgan passed away.

The terse and conciseness of the colloquy of Sgt. Joe Friday ( Webb ) and Officer Bill Gannon (Morgan) were about the only comparisons one could make between those two closely cropped suit wearing detectives and Parker's Spenser and Hawk who were personified in the TV series Spenser for Hire, starring Robert "Dan Tanna"  Ulrich as Spenser and Avery Brooks as his trusty, stylish, ladies man sidekick, Hawk.

Parker's last Spencer novel, Sixkill, left this reader wanting more of the series.  Sixkill, a Cree Indian, is a new character Parker introduced into the fold. Learn more about the continuing of the series, by Ace Atkins,  in an interview with Joan Parker, Robert's widow. Joan was the inspiration of the Spenser's love interest, Susan Silverstein.

Coming in May, Spencer "sings" a Lullaby...

Ironically, the Raymond Chandler estate asked Parker several years ago to write a couple books on Phillip Marlowe too.

***Serendipitous connection: In the book Sixkill,  a few words were song, "Buffalo Girls won't you come out tonight, come out tonight..." were sung. As I read them, I said, where have I heard that song before.  - - a few nights prior to Sixkill, I watched "It's a Wonderful Life". In it, Mary, Donna Reed's character,  sang the same words.

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