Thursday, 21 January 2010

R I P Robert B Parker

Certain people who like to parade their moral superiority and sensitivity complain if someone mourns the death of a person they have never met but who may have effected their life in some way, said person normally being in the public eye. The hell with such people I say. I was saddened by the deaths of John Lennon, Alan Hull, George Mackay Brown and Ian Dury for example. And I am saddened by the death of Robert B Parker:

Mr Parker was one of these authors who was very successful in his own country but not so much here and I’m one of the few people I know who actually read him. If you’ve looked at the above obituary, you will see that he was best known for the Spenser novels. I’m not really that fond of private eye stories and I (whispering this carefully) don’t entirely care for Raymond Chandler – funny but too nihilistic for my taste. Parker’s hero, on the other hand, was rather good humoured which makes for a pleasing change in contemporary crime fiction. He also had friends and a girlfriend and a dog and it is the description of these relationships which made the books stand out, for me anyway. I was aware that the books were written in a single draft with Parker rarely taking more than three months over each one and it does occasionally show. There is a certain sameness that creeps in but the intelligence and the genuine anger at complacent hypocrisy that permeates the Spenser novels goes to forgive a lot. I’ll read one tonight, if not two, and if there’s a better memorial to a writer I cannot think of it.

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