Saturday, November 27, 2021

Robert B Parker, Ace Atkins & Tom Mix

Robert B Parker

Robert B Parker is a writer who created several characters over the years, his most famous being Spenser, with an "s", like the English poet.  No first name ever listed.  He is a private detective from Boston who wanders around solving mysteries.  He has his girl, Susan, a psychiatrist.  They have a dog named Pearl.  And he has a lot of sidekicks, including Hawk, Z, Chollo & Bobby Horse, among others, who help him on his way.  It's usually an interesting story, full of Boston charm, a few gun battles & a lot of cooking.    Unfortunately for all of us Spenser fans, RBP passed away in 2010.

This picture is what I always pictured Spenser looking like although Robert Urich was ok in 'Spenser For Hire' TV series.

One thing I remember reading about Robert B Parker is that he & his wife lived in multi family house where each had their own space plus a shared space. They were committed to each other but could not live together.  He did an interview once where he talked CBS Sunday Morning  about the arrangement:  "I want to make love to my wife for the rest of my life but I never want to sleep with her again".   And Spenser & Susan had the same deal...could not live with each other or without each other.  I always found this interesting.

Ace Atkins
Ace Atkins

Enter writer Ace Atkins, famous on his own, who was chosen by the Parker estate to continue Spenser & frankly he does a really good job.  Their writing styles are very similar & the transition was pretty seamless.  I have not read any of his own characters but certainly intend to.  

I don't always find these changes successful  Another favorite writer was Lawrence Sanders who wrote, among other things, the Seven Deadly Sins murders and in the end of his life a very lazy money grab attempt with a foppish 40+ private eye who lived with is parents in Florida named Archie McNally.  Poor Archie in LS hands was bad enough but when LS died, his estate hired a hack to  was not true to the character...and gave him a sister, which was a complete surprise after 10+ previous books with no mention of her.  Not sure if he's still going but I'm not going with him.

Another pet peeves include a person who puts his name on a book so his fans will buy it but puts in smaller font that he wrote with "whoever" meaning "whoever" wrote it, maybe using main writer's character but can't sell a book on his own name.  Hello, James Patterson

And my favorite is VC Andrews, a writer who died in 1986 & has somehow published a couple of dozen books since then.  

And to Tom the latest Spenser book I wrote called 'Angel Eyes' the good guys refer to"going in with guns blasting, like Tom Mix" & & Spenser points out that he's already dead, "Killed by a piece of stray luggage." ....and he was.  Tom mix died in 1940 in a car accident where he came up on a construction site too fast & hit the brakes, sending his suitcase flying & freakishly hitting him & breaking his neck.   I'm thinking that Ace Atkins had that piece of trivia in his pocket for several years, waiting for the right time to bring it up.  And he did good...made me look!!   

Tom Mix

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