A Few Thoughts on Robert B. Parker

I often find that when I look at something, and it seems facile, it’s not. Have you ever watched an athlete who’s incredible at what he does, and think, “Wow. Maybe I could do that.”? Then, when you try, you know, “Mmmm, maybe not.”

It holds true for teaching. A really good teacher makes it look effortless. She holds the classes’ attention and spirits in her hands and simultaneously increases their knowledge and confidence.

It holds true for writing as well. I’m reluctantly finishing the last few novels that Robert B. Parker has written. In my opinion, he’s one of the few best-selling writers who really knew what he was doing. I’m reading along half thinking, “Yeah. Murder. Mystery. Resolution. Witty repartee. Fine, fine, fine.”

But, just try to create what he does: an intricately woven plot, with characters so real you feel like you’ve lived with them, and a psychological insight at the end to boot.

I’ve read a lot of books by the highly erudite, the stuffed shirt type of academic if you will, that can’t hold a candle to what Robert did in every single one of his novels.

Pity that there will be no more.

11 thoughts on “A Few Thoughts on Robert B. Parker”

  1. Wonderful! I agree completely. Happily, I have books and books ahead that I haven't read. Do you like the Jesse Stone tv versions? I thought they were great, and that Selleck was perfect, but I haven't read the books.


  2. Thanks for writing about Robert B. Parker, Bellezza! I have to confess that I haven't heard of him before and so haven't read any of his books, yet. I will add him to my list of 'Authors to be explored'.


  3. Nan, his Spenser novels have long been my favorite, with the Jesse Stone coming in second and Sunny Randall third. I never saw the television series, I think I was in college then and not watching much televisioin, but Selleck playing Spencer rings a bell. I LOVE the novels. Love. them.Vishy, it's very wonderful American stuff…filled with fabulous dialogue and wit along with the mystery (which in my mind is secondary to the character development).Terri, he died this January (on the 18th I believe). It is so sad. I think his wife has been having a terrible time, too, according to the news articles I've read. Every one of his books is dedicated to her.


  4. I just, just finished reading Blue-Eyed Devil (published posthumously) of his western series yesterday and am writing about it. I'm not one for westerns, but I loved his characters Virgil and Everett. HAve you read them?His mysteries are good but can annoy me because the characters are so wrapped up in the psychology of their relationships and can harp on it, but all in all, I think he was a great writer. I was really sad when he passed away because he's a go-to for me.


  5. picky girl, his Westerns are not a genre of his I've read. (I do remember some baseball novel of his which didn't strike me as all that hot, either.) I think the 'being wrapped up in psychology' aspect is a side that delights me, probably in large part due to the fact that that is one of my degrees. Even though his side is from a fictional standpoint, I still love reading about Susan Silverman and her role as psychologist. Psychotherapist. Whatever. 😉


  6. Selleck didn't play Spenser, Bellezza, Robert Ulrich did. Selleck plays Stone…Parker has been on of my favorites for years and years. I'm going to miss Spenser and the gang something fierce.cjh


  7. But to your larger point – the apparent ease with which anyone does anything… It's the best argument there is for focus, repetition and discipline. The Leonardos of the world, the true geniuses, may be able to paint and write, invent flying machines and formulate elegant mathmatical equations, but for most of us, it's going to be one or two or three talents, and it's going to take work to develop them.I always remember that great quotation whose source I always forget – easy reading means hard writing. Obviously, Parker worked hard.


  8. …his Spenser novels have long been my favorite, with the Jesse Stone coming in second and Sunny Randall third.I've only read the Sunny Randall series, so I guess I'm in for a great treat!BTW, I tried that baseball stand-alone, too, and was unimpressed.


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