The Suitcase Lady


May 11, 2010, 6:53 pm

Only Robert B. Parker could write a line like this….”she smelled like a French Sunset.”

Last January I was on a flight to Florida with the best of all possible treats in my carry-on, a brand new Spenser novel by Robert B. Parker. But I decided to be good and read a backlog of New York Times before I succumbed to the pure pleasure of Parker’s prose. I subscribe to deferred gratification.

Seconds later, the tidal wave hit. “Robert B. Parker, Best-Selling Mystery Writer, Dies at 77”, the Times’ obituary read.

“This couldn’t have happened,” my mind insisted, “Spenser is immortal.” I truly believed that the ever macho, ever gallant, ever gourmet, beer-drinking Spenser always would be my airline companion. No matter which direction the plane was headed, I would be in Spenser’s Boston. Now the voice of Spenser, Susan, Hawk and Pearl was gone, and I felt bereft.

Sadness inspires action, and a few weeks later, I came up with a plan. I would read or reread all of Parker’s 39 Spenser books starting with The Godwulf Manuscript which was published in 1973. Thanks to my local library and Amazon, I have access to every volume.

I’m up to A Catskill Eagle (1985), and  I’m having a splendid time. I am also open to any suggestions about whom I should take to the airport when my Spenser marathon is completed.

Boston has a charming, petite monument to another group of its fictional heroes. Look carefully in Boston Public Garden and you will find Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings from Robert McCloskey’s beloved 1941 children’s book, Make Way For Ducklings, cast in bronze.

I think a statue of Spenser in the park would be in order. Pearl, the wonder dog, would look good in bronze as well.

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