Tuesday 19 January 2010

Robert B. Parker: To sleep, perchance to dream

Robert B. Parker, who is largely responsible for the rejuvenation in the 1970s of the hard-boiled genre of crime fiction, died today at his desk at his Cambridge, Mass., home, it was reported. He was 77 years old.

Although, primarily, a mystery writer, Parker has written several westerns including the bestselling Appaloosa. Parker, hugely influenced by Raymond Chandler, was responsible for bringing Chandler's unfinished Poodle Springs to completion. The book was a huge success and filmed with James Caan playing Philp Marlowe. Parker also penned a sequel to Chandler's most famous book, The Big Sleep.

But it is for his series of books featuring the laconic private eye, Spenser that he will be remembered. The series began in 1973 with The Godwulf Manuscript and continued to the present day - indeed Parker was reported to be working on a Spenser novel when he died, earlier today.

No doubt there will be many tributes posted on blogs, and website over the coming weeks. And whilst I am still fairly new to the Spenser series, I've enjoyed each and every one I've read so far and have several more in my TBR pile.. Mr Parker's westerns were superb. Mr Parker also kept a blog and, ironically the last post was titled The Blogger Returns. It was posted last May and shows Parker full of life, looking forward to future books. I guess no-one knows what's around the corner.

A great literary talent has been lost.


Laurie Powers said...

Nice obit, Gary. He will be missed.

Unknown said...

Very sad. As a reader, I came to Parker's work through the "Chandler connection" and the Spenser books. Coincidentally, just the other day I used some ill-founded comment on the movie of Appaloosa and, by extension, the western genre, as the peg for an article that will be appearing in the Black Horse Extra next month.

Parker's characters in Appaloosa gave the lie to the contention that there is no place for subtlety and nuance in westerns.

Charles Gramlich said...

He died with his boots on, I'd say. Sitting at his desk. Well, how else should a writer go out!

Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin said...

Charles - I thought the same thing myself. You only realise how loved a writer he was, when you read all the posts across the wild west web, mourning his loss.


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