Widow's Walk (Spenser Series #29)

( 16 )

Overview

One of Boston’s elite has been murdered. The accused is his new wife. She’s blonde, beautiful, and young. The jury’s going to hate her. With next-to-no alibi, and multi-million reasons to kill her husband, she needs the best defense money can buy. His name is Spenser, and he’d give anything to believe her.

Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Paperback (Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)
$9.99
BN.com price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (152) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $5.47   
  • Used (140) from $1.99   
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

One of Boston’s elite has been murdered. The accused is his new wife. She’s blonde, beautiful, and young. The jury’s going to hate her. With next-to-no alibi, and multi-million reasons to kill her husband, she needs the best defense money can buy. His name is Spenser, and he’d give anything to believe her.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
At a signing he once gave at a Long Island bookstore, Robert B. Parker admitted to me that he and his beloved private eye creation, Spenser, both shared the same view about aging. "We ignore it," Parker said. Despite the fact that the Spenser novels are written in "real time" and the Boston P.I. served in the Korean War, he remains a timeless romantic, pursuer of truth, and old-school thug who's out to clean up the streets as best he can.

In his 30th excursion, Spenser is hired by attorney Rita Fiore to delve into the case of Mary Smith, the beautiful but vapid wife of millionaire banker Nathan Smith who is now a suspect in her husband's murder. Nathan was found shot to death in the bedroom while Mary claims to have been watching TV in another room. Although Spenser sets out to clear Mary's name, he finds her insipid personality -- what he calls "the power of dumb" -- to be a hurdle he has trouble clambering over. His investigation unravels high finance schemes, property sale hustles, and plenty of banking backstabbing, but he still can't be certain if Mary pulled the trigger or is actually as ignorant as she appears.

The mystery itself is almost secondary to the literary attributes of the story. Widow's Walk is written with Parker's patented lucid style and a narrative drive that will propel you into a tale of thoughtful substance. As with his previous novels in the series, Potshot and Hugger Mugger, he manages to use a humorous ambiance to underscore the high level of violence. Although there's an unusually high number of deaths found in Widow's Walk, it's Spenser's wit and contemplative nature that makes this so exceptionally entertaining. (Tom Piccirilli)

New York Times Book Review
Sometimes you have to wonder how Robert B. Parker keeps his mojo working...There is a trick to keeping the faith with an old hero. In an age of shifty heroes with shaky values, he has created a hero who can still stand up for himself—and us.
Publishers Weekly
Last year Parker published three strong novels including the excellent Spenser mystery Potshot. So he's entitled to a miss and a pass and gets one with this forgettable Spenser entry. Attorney Rita Fiore, who's worked with the Boston PI before, hires Spenser to find out if her new client, Mary Smith, whom Spenser's cop pal Quirk describes as "dumber than my dick," indeed shot to death her husband, banker and Mayflower descendant Nathan Smith, as the evidence indicates. Spenser's search for the truth takes him into one of the most confusing (for the PI and the reader) cases of his long career; unusual for Parker, pages are needed at book's end to explain who did what and why. Sidekick Hawk pitches in to protect Spenser, and gunsel Vinnie Morris lends a hand, too, as several folks Spenser talks to wind up dead, and as the PI is trailed, then attacked, by thugs headquartered at a crooked land development company with ties to the dead man's bank. Susan, Spenser's beloved, offers some advice as well, but the ritual appearances by Spenser's crew, human and animal (Pearl the Wonder Dog, ancient and slow, waddles in here and there), while earning a nod of gratitude from series fans, do little to advance or deepen the proceedings. The novel stirs to life only fitfully, most notably in the confrontational exchanges between a female lawyer implicated in the crimes and her powerful attorney father; here, Parker taps into truth about familial loyalties. The writing is as clean as fresh ice, and from the opening sentence (" `I think she's probably guilty,' Rita Fiore said to me"), it's clear that readers are in the hands of a vet who knows what he's doing; but what Parker is doing here is, alas, not very interesting. (Mar. 18) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When even Pearl the Wonder Dog is slowing down-she's deaf and arthritic and obviously hasn't long to live-you have to wonder whether Spenser will ever rouse himself from his recent doldrums (Potshot, 2001, etc.). Not this time. As usual, though, Boston's favorite private eye slides into his 30th case as smooth as a knife sinking into butter. The State is convinced that Mary Smith, with her brains and supermodel looks, shot her patrician banker husband Nathan to death even though she claims she was downstairs watching Survivor; her attorney, Rita Fiore, naturally taking Mary's view of the case, rouses herself from coyly propositioning Spenser long enough to ask him to dig up exculpatory evidence. Spenser's highly trained response is to ask for a list of Mary's friends-it's a long list including very few actual friends-then begin questioning them and, when he notices he's being followed by a pair of goons, to go on asking pointless questions until one of his conversations goads the goons into acting. The red-flag suspect, Smith financial advisor Brinkman Tyler, is soon dead, along with an unwisely chatty bank officer, an ex-con who claims Mary Smith hired him to ice her husband, and the ex-con's girlfriend; Spenser himself, not to be outdone, notches up a sixth casualty. But none of his obviously provocative questioning leads anywhere except the morgue and some gay bars catering to seriously underage drinkers until one of his dozen interchangeable suspects implicates another, and the whole house of cards-a complicated, forgettable scam-comes tumbling down. Spenser's always been as mannered and self-involved as he finds Marlon Brando, but it's hard to remember a single one of his earliercases that provided so few non-Spenser pleasures. The bestselling hero's earned a rest between hits, of course, but what about the fans who made him a star?
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425189047
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 3/4/2003
  • Series: Spenser Series , #29
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 215,571
  • Product dimensions: 4.44 (w) x 7.58 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert B.  Parker

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole-Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010.

Robert B. Parker was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

Biography

Robert B. Parker began as a student of hard-boiled crime writers such as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, but when he became a crime writer himself, he was one of the rare contemporary authors to be considered on par with his predecessors. The Spenser series, featuring a Boston-based ex-boxer and ex-cop, is one of the genre's most respected and popular fixtures.

Noted for their sharp dialogue and fine character development, the Spenser books carry on a tradition while updating it, particularly in giving its hero two strong alter egos in Hawk, a black friend and right-hand man; and Susan Silverman, Spenser's psychologist love interest. Parker's inclusion of other races and sexual persuasions (several of his novels feature gay characters, a sensibility strengthened in Parker through his sons, both of whom are gay) give a more modern feel to the cases coming into Spenser's office.

The Spenser series, which began with 1973's The Godwulf Manuscript, has an element of toughness that suits its Boston milieu; but it delves just as often into the complex relationship between Silverman and Spenser, and the interplay between the P.I. and Hawk.

By the late ‘80s, Parker had acquired such a reputation that the agent for Raymond Chandler's estate tapped him to finish the legend's last book, Poodle Springs. It was a thankless mission bound to earn criticism, but Parker carried off the task well, thanks to his gift for to-the-point writing and deft plotting. "Parker isn't, even here, the writer Chandler was, but he's not a sentimentalist, and he darkens and deepens Marlowe," the Atlantic concluded. In 1991, Parker took a second crack at Chandler with the Big Sleep sequel Perchance to Dream.

Parker took other detours from Spenser over the years. In 1999, Family Honor introduced Sunny Randall, a female Boston private eye Parker created with actress Helen Hunt in mind. Two years earlier, he introduced L.A.-to-New England cop transplant Jesse Stone in Night Passage. He also authored four bestselling Westerns featuring Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch, a few young adult books, as well as several stand-alone novels that were well-received by his many fans.

Parker died suddenly in January 2010 while at home at his desk, working on a book. The cause was a heart attack. He was seventy-seven.

Good To Know

Parker's thesis in graduate school was a study of the private eye in literature that centered on Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ross MacDonald. Critics would later put him in the same category as those authors.

Parker's main hero is named for Edmund Spenser, the 16th-century author of The Faerie Queene.

Parker had a hand in writing the scripts for some television adaptations of Spenser books starring Robert Urich, who also played Spenser in the ABC series from 1985-88. Urich suffered a battle with cancer and passed away in 2002, but adaptations continue to be made for A&E, starring Joe Mantegna. Parker approved of the new actor, telling the New York Times: ''I looked at Joe and I saw Spenser."

According to a profile in the New York Times, Parker met his wife Joan when the two were toddlers at a birthday party. The two reconnected as freshmen at Colby College and eventually had two sons. They credit the survival of their marriage to a house split into separate living spaces, so that the two can enjoy more independent lives than your average husband and wife.

Parker told fans in a 1999 Barnes & Noble.com chat that he thought his non-series historical novel All Our Yesterdays was "the best thing I've ever written."

Parker had a small speaking part in the 1997 A&E adaptation of Small Vices. How does he have time to write his Spenser books, plus the other series and the adaptation stuff? "Keep in mind, it takes me four or five months to write a novel, which leaves me a lot of time the rest of the year," he told Book magazine. "I don't like to hang around."

Read More Show Less
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 17, 1932
    2. Place of Birth:
      Springfield, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Death:
      January 18, 2010
    2. Place of Death:
      Cambridge, Massachusetts
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, Colby College, 1954; M.A., Ph. D. in English, Boston University, 1957, 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

ONE

"I think she's probably guilty," Rita Fiore said to me.

We were in her office, high up, with a view of the harbor.

"And you're her lawyer," I said. "

Tells you about her case," Rita said. She sat on the edge of her desk in front of me, her thick red hair gleaming. She had on a black suit with a very short skirt. Rita knew her legs were good.

"But you'll represent her anyway."

"Like everyone else," Rita said, "she's entitled to the best defense she can get."

"Or afford," I said.

Rita smiled. "Or afford."

"She got money?"

"Oodles," Rita said.

"Last time I worked for you," I said, "I almost got killed."

"I know," Rita said. "We could give you hazardous-duty pay."

"It's all hazardous duty," I said. "Tell me about your client."

"Mary Smith."

"Mary Smith?"

"Honest to God," Rita said. "It's her real name. She was married to the victim, Nathan Smith. Her maiden name was Toricelli."

"She have oodles of money before she married him?" I said.

"No."

"Ah ha!"

"Ah ha?"

"It's an investigational term," I said. "That where the oodles come from?"

"Yes."

"They the same age?"

"He married her when she was twenty-three and he was fifty-one."

"Prior marriages?"

"None. For either."

"How old is she now?"

"Thirty."

Rita had her legs crossed. She bounced the top leg a little, looking at the point of her shoe. The shoe had a very high heel. It looked uncomfortable. But good.

"Anyone else in her life?"

Rita shook her head sadly. "God," she said. "You're a cynical bastard."

"Anyone?"

"Cops suspect her of an affair or two."

"With?"

Rita smiled. "Youwant them in chronological order?" she said. "Or alphabetically?"

"You can give me a list," I said. "What's the prosecution's case?"

"He was discovered naked in his bed with a hole in his head made by a forty-caliber slug."

"They find the bullet?"

"Yes. After it went through his head it tore through the mattress and lodged in the baseboard. Angle of the shot suggests that it was fired by someone in bed beside him."

"She have an alibi?"

"No. She says she was downstairs in the library watching television."

"She hear the shot?"

"No. Says the TV was on loud and her door was closed so as not to wake him up."

"So she found him that way when she went up to bed."

"Yes. They didn't share a bedroom, but she usually stopped in to say good night."

"Did he normally sleep naked?" I said.

"I don't know."

"Okay," I said. "She's a good candidate. But they got to have more than that to prosecute."

"They had a huge fight earlier in the evening. He actually slapped her."

"Witnesses?"

"Two dozen. It was a big cocktail party in Brookline."

"And I assume she's his heir," I said.

"Yes."

"And there's more," I said.

"Unfortunately, yes. Prosecution has a witness who says she tried to hire him to kill her husband."

"And he declined?"

"He says he did."

"He make a deal for his testimony?"

"Yes. They picked him up for something unrelated. He said if they could work something out, he could help them with this case."

"Which is a high profiler," I said.

"The Smiths first came to Boston on the Mayflower," Rita said.

"The Mayflower didn't come to Boston," I said.

"Well, they've been here a long time," Rita said.

"But the cops can't put her in the room when the gun went off," I said.

"No."

"No powder residue on her hands."

"No. But he did."

"Shot at close range," I said. "Put his hands up to try and stop the bullet?"

"That's the police theory."

"Everybody knows about powder residue anyway," I said. "She could have worn gloves."

"Police didn't find them."

"You can flush those latex jobs down the toilet like a condom."

"I've heard that can happen," Rita said.

"I'll bet you have," I said.

"I meant about the gloves," Rita said.

"Oh."

"There is probably more," Rita said. "But that's what I know they've got so far."

"You think they can convict her on that?" I said.

"Motive, and opportunity, prior solicitations to murder. Plus the jury won't like her."

"Because?"

"Because she's what my mother would have called cheap. She's too pretty, too made up, too blond, lot of attitude, drinks to excess, probably does dope, sleeps around."

"Sounds like a great date," I said.

"And her diction is bad," Rita said. "She sounds uneducated."

"Juries don't like that?"

"They are more inclined to think you're innocent if you sound like Barbara Walters," Rita said.

"You think Barbara would be a good date?"

"Oh, oink," Rita said.

"You think the prosecution knows stuff they haven't told you?" I said.

Rita had thick dark red hair which glinted in the sunlight that streamed through her big picture window.

"Maybe," she said.

"What about full disclosure?" I said.

"What about the Easter bunny?" Rita said. "You want to see what you can find out?"

"Sure."

—Reprinted from Widows Walk by Robert B. Parker by permission of The Putnam Publishing Group, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Copyright © 2002, Robert B. Parker. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 19 of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2005

    Untold Secrets

    This book was absolutly amazing, just the way that the author Robert Parker told and portrayed every character. I liked the way that he withheld so many secrets about the characters and then relaesed the information that he had at the strangest times throughout the book. Parker has characters with diffrent personalities and that is what makes you want to keep on reading the book. This book was interesting because in the society that the book was written it was so understanding and accepting, but todays society is totally opposite to what he portrayed it to be in his novel, which made it a very interesting novel. The book overall was absolutely awesome and I would recommend it to anybody who likes to read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 31, 2003

    THE BEST OF THE BEST !!

    I truly do not believe that anyone can read a Spenser novel and NOT say its THE BEST !! Parker has a gift that you seldom find and he writes about a real man with real values. All of his books read as smooth as silk -- pick up one and you will not be happy until you locate and read ALL that he has written over the years -- thats a promise! IF you are a serious reader --you must read Robert Parker !!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2002

    Spenser keeps getting better.

    The ageless Spenser keeps getting better. This was a very good story with lots of action. Hawk is the ultimate cool tough guy. Mr. Parker doesn't pull any punches with the dialogue between Spenser and Hawk and it's truly funny. A slightly anticlimatic ending but still well worth reading. Let's hope Mr. Parker never stops writing Spenser novels.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2002

    A MEMORABLE READING BY JOE MANTEGNA

    Few voice artists can rival Joe Mantegna. He brings an unparalleled depth of understanding to the characters he represents. Perhaps this isn't surprising when one remembers that he's a Tony Award-winner for his portrayal of the memorable Richard Roma in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross. His stellar Broadway credits would be impressive enough, but don't forget the big screen - he's starred in such feature films as Godfather III, Bugsy, and Searching for Bobby Fischer. Mantegna brings every ounce of this ability to his readings - close your eyes, relax, and let the story unfold as only he can tell it. And, this story is a spellbinder. Robert Parker brings back Spenser, one of America's favorite private investigators in another suspenseful tale laced with spine tingling action and crunching dialogue. When 51-year-old Nathan Smith is murdered, his young wife is immediately suspect. Few believe her innocence but she has multi millions so she retains the best to get her out of this jam. Never one to turn down a hefty fee, Spenser takes the case even though the widow's alibi wouldn't stand up in a slight breeze. Mary Smith says she was watching the tube in another room when her husband went to join the heavenly host. Furthermore, witnesses saw the couple loudly disagreeing earlier in the evening and the prosecution has a fellow eager to testify that Mary once tried to pay him to kill Nathan. Stir in another murder and you have a tempest in tea town. Good luck Spenser! As always the remarkable Mr. Parker gives readers what they want - roller coaster ride action, and cleverly conceived characters. Mr. Mantegna gives listeners what they want - a superb reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 19 of 16 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)