Robert B. Parker died four years ago this month. He’s still considered the Dean of American Crime Fiction and because of that there’s a good chance you’ve read one of his 70 novels. Some of his more popular series are Spenser, Jesse Stone and Sunny Randall. You’ve probably seen a movie or are a fan of a TV show based on his novels.
I’ve been a fan since my first Spenser novel. So, several years ago I heard he would be the featured speaker at a local Palm Beach book fair. I quickly signed on for an autograph table for my own books. But what I wanted was to hear him speak. What a day!
He turned out to be who I expected. Open, gracious, funny and generous to his audience and other panel members. When another big name author made a dismissive gesture toward romance novels, Robert Parker slid the microphone in front of himself and quickly defended the genre. I’m paraphrasing here: “The world needs all the love it can get.”
Afterwards, at the author reception, I got to talk to him one-on-one. I told him how much I enjoyed the Spenser books and how I learned how to treat the hero in my own writing in a more realistic way. (Spenser, the hard boiled Boston detective loves to cook and loves, respects and is loyal to his long time girlfriend.) He seemed pleased to hear that. Then I mentioned I, too, had a book out with the same title as the one he was publicizing at the book fair. “Trouble In Paradise”. We laughed about this and then he wished me the best with mine.
As you can see by the photo he had quite a sense of humor.
Rest in peace, Robert Parker. Your light shines on.
Do you have a favorite Parker novel?