Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Painted Ladies by Robert B. Parker

There's something sad about reading the second last Spenser novel.  I'm going to miss Robert B. Parker's wit, the thoughtful conversations between the characters.  Painted Ladies brought appearances by most of the cops in Spenser's life, along with a few other friends, but Hawk is missing.  I hope he's in the last book in the series.

When a painting is stolen from the Hammond Museum, and there's a ransom demand, Dr. Ashton Prince is asked to handle the exchange, money for the painting.  Prince hires Spenser to protect him, but the site of the exchange, and the details, are very carefully set up, and everything goes wrong.  Spenser didn't take care of his client, so he's determined to make it right.

However, it seems that no one else really cares.  On the advice of their attorney, the Hammond won't deal with Spenser.  No one at Walford University, where Prince taught, seems particularly upset.  The professor's widow is caught up in her own world.  Even the insurance company's representative isn't interested in the investigation.  Not having a client has never stopped Spenser, when he's determined to discover the secrets behind his client's murder.   This time, though, someone has Spenser targeted, and he thinks it involves this case.

This mystery involving the art world takes Spenser down some unexpected paths.  In a change from recent books, there's actually more mystery involved in this book by Parker.  It's a treat to watch Spenser work a puzzling case.  But, as always, the greatest treat is spending time in Spenser's world, with Susan and Pearl, and the cops who respect his ability.  Spenser is the detective who recognizes and can recite poetry, appreciates attractive women, but always remains faithful.  It's going to be tough to finally lose mystery's knight in shining armor, the detective with a code of honor.

Painted Ladies by Robert B. Parker.  G.P. Putnam's Sons, ©2010. ISBN 9780399156854 (hardcover), 304p.

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Bev Stephans said...

Hi Lesa,

I just finished reading this book, and I too will miss Robert B. Parker's writing. Your review of "Painted Ladies" was so good that I have nothing to add, except I really liked it!

Do you know whether or not there will be one more 'Jesse Stone' novel? Since Jesse hooked-up with Sunny Randall, I have been following the series faithfully.

Joe Barone said...

Like a lot of others, when Parker died, I set about to read all of his books in order starting with the Spenser books.

My wife and I are about one-third through the Spensers. The more I read, the more I respect his accomplishment as a writer. Some books are better than others (we might each have different favorites), but Parker produced a simple, interesting story every time.

Some writers write one or two masterpieces. To me, his body of work is his masterpiece.

Kaye Barley said...

I feel exactly the same, Lesa. I was sad when this book ended, happy that there will be one more Spenser to read, and SO hope Hawk is in it!

Lesa said...


I can't say I'm right, but FictFact.com only shows one more Spenser novel, no other novels in any of the other series.

I'm glad you thought my review of Painted Ladies was appropriate. Thank you.

Lesa said...


I totally agree with you. I think his body of work was why he was a Grand Master, not one particular book, not even one particular series. But, it's the Spenser books I've read, and loved. And, I've read every one of them that's been published, including the two YA novels that featured Spenser. He was the perfect example of that detective's code of honor.

Lesa said...

That's exactly how I feel, Kaye.

kathy d. said...

Agree with everyone.

Robert Parker was an excellent writer with a terrific character in Spenser.

I liked Hawk and Susan Silverman, too--and of course, Pearl, the wonder dog.

He will be missed--but we can all reread his books, and enjoy them again.

Lesa said...

He will be missed, Kathy. Pearl has an interesting role in this book. It was a nice addition to the story.