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Publishers WeeklyStarred Review.
Robert B. Parker, the man widely credited with reviving the hardboiled PI genre, gets the respect he amply deserves in this anthology of 15 essays. Editor Penzler, founder of The Mysterious Press, provides a thoughtful introduction that sets the stage for insights into a wide range of topics, including the role of food in the Spenser books, TV adaptations, and the series' Boston setting. Every piece is worthwhile, but four stand out: In "Songs Spenser Taught Me," Ace Atkins, tapped by the Parker estate to continue the Spenser franchise, movingly conveys how the character changed his life following the loss of his father when Atkins was a sophomore at Auburn University. Loren D. Estleman, whose own Detroit-based PI Amos Walker has had a long and successful run, explains how Parker helped to save "America's place in world literature," while Lyndsay Faye, in "Spenser and the Art of the Family Table," makes use of her own experience working in restaurants to discuss Spenser-as-gourmet and the relationship between care in food preparation and maintaining human relationships. Finally, S.J. Rozan intelligently parses out the debate among fans about the investigator's significant other, Susan Silverman, treating both camps fairly.
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