Thursday, January 21, 2010

Robert B. Parker

You can tell I've been busy because I hadn't even seen the obit for Robert B. Parker until my mom told me about it last night.

Robert Parker dead! "This is just wrong," a fellow mystery-loving friend told me when I emailed her the obit. It is, just plain wrong.

At the last diocesan convention, I'd taken a Spenser novel with me to while away the downtime. Some ignoramus, seeing it on the table said, "Whose trashy novel is that?" and was shocked, SHOCKED!, that I was reading it. I still wish I'd said, "Clearly, you've never read a Spenser novel."

Trashy? I don't think so. "Mr. Parker’s regular readers became familiar with the things that provoke Spenser’s suspicion: showy glamour, ostentatious wealth, self-aggrandizement, fern bars, fancy sports clubs and any kind of haughtiness or presumption." Like the presumption that the content between the covers of a paperback pocket book are trash.

The man wrote five pages a day, six days a week. He also had a PhD in literature from Boston University. I wish I had a Spenser-esque response to people who don't understand that just because a lot of people like it doesn't mean it's trash. But then maybe Spenser, and Parker, don't need my protection.

Update The obituary in the London Telegraph, though slightly disdainful, notes two things: 1) that Parker reported "he typically wrote 10 pages a day" and 2) his dissertation was on Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not to worry about your lack of words, Laura, I'm sure Susan and Hawk can take care of the complainers without your help ...

The more important question would be, What are we all going to read for fun now that Robert Parker is no longer here to write for us?!

Laura Toepfer said...

I know! I feel like Spenser has also died.