Spenser part three

Hardy Boys

Spenser part three

Hardy Boys

Spenser Part One | Spenser Part Two

After thirty some-odd Spenser novels, I can understand the author’s espoused “code.”

Like the Repo Code, to derail badly. (Repo Code)

Across the series, there’s an ongoing effort to display the usual glancing version of a working knowledge of the body of English Literature, what was once accepted as canon. As a side note to a side note, “Malt does more than Milton can, to justify god’s ways to man” is A.E. Houseman, not Auden. Inside an insider’s joke? Showed up in several of the novels.

But the appeal is a large person, and there’s a serious nod to the original Jack Reacher, or rather, Reacher’s roots. I’m sure there’s been critical analysis of this, and the question being, why do we like this material?

One — I — would suppose the originals are dime detectives, with an added flair. Just crank it up a single notch, then pitch it sideways.

Walking Shadow (1994)

Walking Shadow (Spenser Book 21)
A yes, a “Waste Land” allusion.

Small Vices (1997)

Small Vices (Spenser Book 24)
“Readiness is all,” again and again. Quoting Hamlet..

Hush Money (1999)

Hush Money (Spenser Book 26)
Tenure and murder. Academics is murder.

Sudden Mischief (1998)

Sudden Mischief (Spenser Book 25)
Old joke, about ex-lovers, ex-wives. Ex-husband, actually. In the book.

School Days (2005)

School Days (Spenser)
Norman Mailer allusion, opening shot.

Cold Service (2005)

Cold Service (Spenser Book 32)
Ukrainian “mob,” and more. Think: SRV and Cold Shot. Better yet, think: Free Bird, the rock anthem from decades past, building to a screaming conclusion crescendo, over and over…

Now and Then (2007)

Now and Then (The Spenser Series Book 35)
Revenge, seems topical.

Potshot (2001)

Potshot (Spenser Book 28)
High desert, and an OK Corral?

Back Story (2003)

Back Story (Spenser Book 30)
28 year old cold case.

Hugger Mugger (2000)

Hugger Mugger (Spenser)
Gay old South. King Lear amongst the gothic south and horse racing.

Rough Weather (2008)

Rough Weather (Spenser)
The rich and infamous? Lochinvar.

Painted Ladies (2010)

Painted Ladies (Spenser Book 38)
Stolen art.

Sixkill (2011)

Sixkill (Spenser Book 39)
Kemo Sabe.

Widow’s Walk (2002)

Widow’s Walk (Spenser Book 29)
Trophy wife and dead husbands?

Bad Business (2004)

Bad Business (Spenser)
Shakespeare foreshadowing… “Before the game’s afoot” H4, and the “the game’s afoot” H5. Hotspur and then Henry V. We all know how those end? Prince Hal kills Hotspur.

Hundred-Dollar Baby (2006)

Hundred-Dollar Baby (Spenser)
Hooker with a heart of gold, old trope.

The Professional (2009)

The Professional (Spenser Book 37)
Blackmail among the rich and sordid, late developing, cf., Of Mice and Men.