In our last two posts, we took a look at authors pouring new wine into old wineskins by writing new stories featuring the characters of writers who are no longer with us. These revivals are are worthy reads, but perhaps the greater tribute is to create a new character in the old style, which is what Robert B. Parker did with Spenser. Parker created Spenser as a conscious throwback to Raymond Chandler’s Phillip Marlowe, but endowed him with a sensitivity born of the age of feminism and civil rights. A mark of his success, Parker/Spenser influenced a new generation of crime writers, notably Harlan Coben. “A bruiser in body but a softie at heart (NYT)”, Spenser can best be seen at work in stories like “Mortal Stakes”, “Looking for Rachael Wallace”, “Early Autumn” and “Taming a Sea Horse.”
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Quotable“The precise role of the artist is to illuminate that darkness, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of our purpose, which is to make the world a more human dwelling place.” James Baldwin