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Robert B. Parker, creator of the Spenser series, has died [updated]

Robert B. ParkerRobert ParkerSpencerSpencer: For Hire

Spenserforhire
Author Robert B. Parker, one of America's preeminent crime writers, has died. Born in 1932 in Springfield, Mass., Parker wrote his PhD thesis on detective fiction and left a career teaching college English after his own writing became successful.

Parker hit it big with his Spenser series. Spenser was a classic tough-talking private eye, a former Boston boxer. Beginning with "The Gudwulf Manuscript" in 1973 and running through 2009's "The Professional," the Spencer series included almost 40 books.

It also spawned the television series "Spenser: For Hire," which ran from 1985 to 1988, starring Robert Urich, at right, as Spencer; Avery Brooks played his compatriot, Hawk. 

When news began to circulate on Tuesday that Parker had died, it was reported that he did so while sitting at his desk in his Cambridge, Mass. home. Although Parker is gone, Spencer is likely to return: Sarah Weinman reports that at least two books from Parker are expected in 2010.

[Update: the original version of this post did not include information about Parker's books expected in 2010, and included a spelling of "Spenser" as "Spencer."]

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Warner Bros. Television

 
Comments () | Archives (20)

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HORRIBLE NEWS ! HE DIDN'T DIE ALONE-------SPENCER, HAWK, SUNNY,JESSE STONE, CROW, AND THE WONDERFUL VIRGIL COLE, ALL DIED WITH HIM. WHAT A TERRIBLE LOSS TO HIS DEVOTED READERS, LIKE ME. I DON'T CRY FOR HIM;HE'S HAPPY NOW. I CRY FOR ALL OF US, WHO LOVE HIM, AND HIS UNIQUE AND MUCH LOVED CHARACTERS. GOD BLESS HIS FAMILY, IN THIS AWFUL TIME.

Proper spelling is "The Godwulf Manuscript."

I have read every Spenser book, and for years I looked forward to every new title. When I got my hands on it, I would run home and finish it in one or two sittings, putting everything else on hold. My favorite light-reading author. I miss him already.

Cry not for what we have lost, but rejoice in what we had. A book is a person's best friend and so becomes the author. Mr. Parker will be in our hearts forever as we re-read his stories that drew us into the lives of people that we grew to love. To Mrs. Parker and his family, thank you for the time you shared Mr. Parker with us.

Anita Hill
Michigan

I'm shocked and upset. I've been a fan of Mr. Parker's work for thirty years and will miss him. My condolences to his wife and sons.

One of the greats has been lost. God bless his family. I found Robert Parker by accident 5 years ago and have spent that time reading and re-reading his books. That won't stop and we all look forward to 2010 and the two new ones that will come.

Oh my gosh! I absolutely love the way he writes--I am just finishing the last Spenser book, after reading them all in order, for the past 5 months! I am going to miss his terrific story telling. Very, very sad news...

I just bought one of his books the other day that I had somehow missed. I loved all of his books, what a great writer. Pure entertainment through and through. I will miss him greatly. It seems like Mr. Parker may have died doing what he loved to do. Condolences to his family and his many fans.


His books can be read over and over and remain exciting and entertaining. What a great loss to his family and to those of us who loved reading his books.

The truth is, that Spenser, Susan, Hawk, Sunny, Jesse, and his entire remarkable literary family grieve along with us. Their immortality is his gift to us.

No! He was one of my favorites. No more Hawk, no more Susan. I am bummed.

The King is dead. Mourn, certainly, then go and read Parker. He was one of my main inspirations for becoming a writer. I have spent uncounted happy hours with his work, simply for the joy of hearing the poetry of his voice in my head. Way to go, Bob. Long live the King.

Lets raise a toast to Robert B. Parker (1932-2010), one of the finest writers of our time, who passed away in the saddle, sitting at his desk at his home in Cambridge, MA, writing the next story to entertain us all. From all of us who have been entertained by your books, we raise our glasses and salute you. Hawk, Vinny Morris, Chollo, Crow, and the rest of the guys, raise your weapons in the air and lets have a 21 gun salute.

Parker's novels are not "detective stories". They are existential inquiries into the
shallowness and uncertainty of life. Boston is the stage. He concludes that there are only two, real certainties: Love (Susan) and Friendship (Hawk).
A great loss: "No man lives forever/and Dead men rise up never...."

Awful news. My condolences to his family. He was my favorite author. I have read and re-read his books. I miss him already.

I will miss him immensely. One of the most enjoyable series ever, for series aficionados.

With the late Robert B. Parker, if you are a writer you get a two-fer. Read his books once for the sheer enjoyment - Then go back and read them just to immerse yourself in the beautiful way he handles the English language. Robert finally did an unkindness to all us readers who loved him - - he died.

Donald

I just heard the terrible news. I recently bought "The Professional". I will read it with both joy and sadness.

Sniffle !!!

He was a wonderful author. I have read all his books at least a dozen times over the years. He will be missed but Spenser and Hawk and Co will live on. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Pearl, the wonder dog too.

I loved to read Mr. Parkers novels Spenser and the western are my favorites. I will miss reading both of the advertures of
Spenser and Hawk and also Cole and Hetch/.


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