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Paper Doll

Spenser tracks a mystery woman who refuses to rest in peace, in Robert B. Parker's most beguiling thriller yet. Sam Spade. Philip Marlowe. Lew Archer. Spenser. Like his legendary predecessors, the tough and classy Boston PI has become an American institution. With Paper Doll, Robert B. Parker takes Spenser down a sinister path, where every welcome masks a warning and identity is paper-thin. Hired by Loudon Tripp, an aggrieved Boston aristocrat who believes the brutal street slaying of his wife, Olivia, to be something other than random violence, Spenser immediately senses Tripp's picture-perfect version of his family's life is false. For starters, the victim's reputation is far too saintly, while her house is as lived-in as a stage set and her troubled children don't appear the product of a happy home. Spenser plunges into a world of grand illusion, peopled by cardboard cutouts, including: a distinguished public servant with plenty to hide; a wealthy executive whose checks bounce; a sleepy southern town seething with scandal; and the ambiguous Olivia herself. Consummately mysterious and smokily sensual, Paper Doll is Parker and Spenser at their compelling best.
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About the Author

Robert B. Parker was the author of seventy books, including the legendary Spenser detective series, the novels featuring Police Chief Jesse Stone, and the acclaimed Virgil Cole-Everett Hitch westerns, as well as the Sunny Randall novels. Winner of the Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Award and long considered the undisputed dean of American crime fiction, he died in January 2010.


Spenser fans will delight in the Boston PI's latest adventure, after Pastime and Double Deuce , as Parker, restraining a penchant for arch characterization, returns his attention to plotting. Spenser is hired by Boston Brahmin Loudon Tripp to find the murderer of his conventionally impeccable wife, Olivia Nelson, whom the police consider a victim of random urban violence. After consulting with the police detective assigned to the case, a gay man whose lover is dying of AIDS, Spenser travels to Olivia's hometown in South Carolina, where his questions land him in jail, uncharged, and at the mercy of some Northern thugs. Rescued at the last minute by Boston police Lt. Quirk, the burly detective soon finds himself taken into the confidence of a sleazy but powerful Massachusetts senator. The case builds on a nicely woven mix of false identity, self-delusion and, unexpectedly, the powerful attachment of two old Southern gentlemen, one black and one white. Spenser's lover, the elegant psychiatrist Susan, and his pal Hawk stay pretty much in the background as the tough-but-sensitive PI hews mainly to the mystery at hand. Mystery Guild Main selection, Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (May)

In this novel, Boston detective Spenser is investigating the inexplicable murder of a respected wife, mother, and educator. To solve the crime, Spenser takes a trip to South Carolina to look into the victim's past, only to find danger and yet another perplexing question, which, when answered, will break the case wide open. David Dukes's interpretation of Spenser emphasizes his laconic, uncooperative nature, yet Spenser's practical kindness to a bereaved cop and general fellow feeling for underdogs comes through. Dukes is less successful with attractive and intelligent Susan, the love of Spenser's life, whom he portrays with few nuances-a drawling pace and soft voice is about all the personality she gets. He provides creditable Southern accents to color the South Carolina portion of the book but is less successful with the upper-crust family of the dead Olivia: the husband's speech is characterized by a slow pretentiousness, the son's, by the thick consonants of a street thug. Not an essential purchase.-Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Praise for Paper Doll "Hidden identities and grand of Parker's more stellar performances!"--Detroit News "Brilliantly Spenserish!"--The New York Times Book Review "A new, very satisfying case...with the emphasis on sins of the soul...very well done."--Kirkus Reviews

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