For those of you who haven't heard, we lost a great mystery writer yesterday.
Robert B. Parker's books have been places where I've gone to find old friends for many years. Touching base with Spenser, Hawk, and Susan Silverman has always been comforting to me. With a mix of whimsy, humor, and fairly incisive social critique, Parker created quick-paced stories that I loved dearly.
You can't say that Robert B. Parker's voice was silenced before he had a chance to tell his tales. Far from it. Since the early Seventies, he's written well over fifty books, and had vast success. Even after something like thirty-seven Spenser books, he was still giving us good tales, and even the occasional twist we hadn't seen. He wasn't afraid of ambiguity, or of telling a story where there was no clear "right" answer. Sometimes, the "knowing" part of the mystery solved nothing, satisfied nothing.
Parker died, I think, as we all hope to go. Having accomplished much and been well lauded, but also still at his work, suddenly. He was sitting at his desk, probably writing, when his heart gave out. There are a lot of ways to go, and that's one of the better ones. For an author, that's the equivalent of dying with your boots on, or with sword in hand.
I understand that, true to his productive nature, there are several Robert B. Parker books "in the pipeline". I'll probably read them all in time. I'll smile when every dialogue tag reads, "so and so said," even when the line was a question. The end of each story will probably hide a little spike of sadness now. We'll miss you, Bob Parker, and all the characters you brought to life.