Tuesday, 19 January 2010

A writer leaves...

In the mid-80s, for reasons that now escape me, I picked up Robert B Parker’s “Promised Land” from Smiths in Kettering and really enjoyed it, so much so that I picked up as many of the Spenser books as I could find. They were cracking novels, full of terse, well-pitched dialogue, minimal descriptive passages and superb characterisations (and the use of Boston as a location). I also enjoyed the Robert Urich starring series, especially Avery Brooks’ “Spen-sah”, the phraseology of which I still use today!

I went off the books during the late-90s, as they became more dialogue-driven and there was a lot of ‘white space’, but last year I decided to go back and started with “Promised Land” - I’d forgotten what a wonderful book it really is. In the end, I read 4 Spenser novels last year and really got a taste for hard-boiled mysteries again.

I found out that Robert B Parker died today, aged 77, “sitting at his desk” (which is a pretty good way for a writer to go, I suppose). He was still writing - up to three novels a year, in diverse genres - and I never expected this.

I didn’t know Robert B Parker, nor did I ever meet him, but he brought me a lot of enjoyment as a reader and taught me a lot about dialogue as a writer. RIP, good sir.

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