Ali Karim sends the sad news that Robert B. Parker has died suddenly at the age of 77, "just sitting at his desk" at home, according to his U.K. Publisher Quercus. "No illness."
I first met Robert B. Parker at the 1982 Bouchercon in 1982 in San Francisco. He did a great job as Guest of Honor. It was a small convention, and there was plenty of time to chat. He talked about his writing, his personal life, and his love of mysteries. Over the years, he continued to become even more more prolific, writing as many as three novels a year.
Robert B Parker, the author of Boston P.O. Spenser is often acknowledged as the Dean of American Crime Fiction. He began writing the popular Spenser novels in 1971. Spenser is a witty, literate, Scotch-drinking, ex-boxer, Korean War Vet, cooking detective who appeared in over 36 novels. For the complete list of the Spenser Series, go HERE. He also wrote the Sunny Randall Series and the Jesse Stone Series, as well as over a dozen stand-alone novels. The latest Spenser novel is The Professional (Putnam) Parker also wrote several non-fiction books and a Y.A. novel.
Read an Interview with Robert B. Parker, HERE.
Parker’s fictional Spenser inspired the ABC-TV series Spenser: For Hire. In February 2005, CBS-TV broadcast the Jesse Stone novel Stone Cold. The second CBS movie, Night Passage, and the third, Death in Paradise, aired on April 30, 2006.
Parker was named Grand Master of the 2002 Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America and the Gumshoe Award for Lifetime Achievement.
This news is very hard to process.
Sarah Weinman is updating her post on Robert B. Parker with tributes from blogs and websites. You can read this here.
Read Sarah Weinman's tribute in the LA Times HERE.
Mark Pratt, an AP Writer posted at noon on 1/19/10:
BOSTON (AP) — Robert B. Parker, the blunt and beloved crime novelist who helped revive and modernize the hard-boiled genre and branded a tough guy of his own through his "Spenser" series, has died. He was 77.
An ambulance was sent to Parker’s home in Cambridge on Monday morning for reports of a sudden death, said Alexa Manocchio, spokeswoman for the Cambridge police department.
Parker’s longtime agent, Helen Brant, said that the author’s widow, Joan, called her Monday right after finding him dead at his desk.
"They had had breakfast together Monday and he was perfectly fine," Brant said. "She went out to do her running and when she came back about an hour later, he was dead. We were in a complete state of shock and still cannot quite believe it."
Prolific to the end, Parker wrote more than 50 novels, including 37 featuring Boston private eye Spenser. The character’s first name was a mystery and his last name emphatically spelled with an "s" in the middle, not a "c." He was the basis for the 1980s TV series "Spenser: For Hire," starring Robert Urich.
Parker openly worshipped Raymond Chandler and other classic crime writers and helped bring back their cool, clipped style in the first "Spenser" novel, "The Godwulf Manuscript" from 1973. Within a few years, in "Looking for Rachel Wallace" and "Early Autumn," he was acclaimed as a master in his own right.
"Hard-boiled detective fiction was essentially dead in the early ‘70s. It was considered almost a museum thing," said Ace Atkins, author of "Devil’s Garden," "Wicked City" and several other novels. "When Parker brought out Spenser, it reinvigorated the genre. ... I wouldn’t have a job now without Robert Parker."
Robert Crais, known for his Elvis Cole/Joe Pike novels, said Parker "opened the doors for everyone who came after."
Brant, Parker’s agent, said a private ceremony will take place this week to remember the author, and a public memorial, a "celebration of his life and work," is planned for mid-February in Boston.
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