Robert B. Parker

Spenser - Private Investigator, Boston, Massachusetts

"Thin Air"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark JAN 10, 1999)

I'm having one of those weeks where I just want to read quick dependable mystery novels.   Nothing too hard.  So what better than a Spenser novel?  The Spenser series is the impetus of the old Boston based television show "Spenser for Hire."  Spenser is a large guy, former boxer, ex-cop, with few friends that aren't thugs or cops, but as his girlfriend will attest he has a sensitive side.  Belson's (a cop friend) new bride, Lisa, disappears into "Thin Air" and a few days later, Belson is shot in an ambush. From his hospital bed, Belson asks Spenser to find her. This leads Spenser to Proctor, a run down Mill town in Massachusetts near the New Hampshire border and on the Merrimack River.  (Which sounds an awful lot like Lawrence, Massachusetts to me.)  Hawk's off on an assignment in Burma, but never mind, Proctor is run by the Hispanics so Spenser hires a mean Spanish speaking Chicano from LA to help him find the girl.  Usual seediness, but also a little eerie as we simultaneously follow what's going on with the kidnapped Lisa.

  • Amazon reader rating: from 27 reviews

(back to top)

Bibliography: (with links to

Spenser novels:

Young Spenser Novels

Featuring Philip Marlowe (after Chandler):

Jesse Stone novels:

Sunny Randall novels:


Young Adult:



(back to top)

Book Marks:


(back to top)

About the Author:

Robert Brown Parker was born in 1932 in Springfield, Massachusetts and was raised in Massachusetts. He attended Colby College in Maine, and then served with the Army in Korea. He completed his Ph.D in English at Boston University in 1971, writing his dissertation on Hammett, Chandler and MacDonald. Parker was a full Professor when he retired in 1979.

Parker began writing his Spenser novels while teaching at Boston's Northeastern University. He writes about a novel a year. His character, Spenser, spawned the television series, Spenser For Hire (1985-88). In 1989, The Raymond Chandler estate asked him to complete the unfinished Philip Marlowe novel, Poodle Springs, which HBO made into a movie in 1998. More recently, his novel Small Vices was made into a television film for the A&E network.

He married his wife Joan in 1956; they raised two sons, David and Daniel. Together the Parkers found Pearl Productions, a Boston-based independent film company named after their short-haired pointer, Pearl, who has appeared in Parker's novels. He and Joan live in the Boston area.

Robert B. Parker died January 18, 2010 at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was seventy-seven. About Us | Subscribe | Review Team | History | ©1998-2014