Annual Conference & INFO-EXPO Boston Convention & Exhibition Center June 14 -16, 2015

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Boston for Spenser Fans

Boston for Spenser Fans

This post was written by Brian McCann, Librarian at Black & Veatch

When you hear the word “Boston”, the first thing to come to mind is different for everyone.  Though many would cite its role in the American Revolution or its notoriety as the home of the Boston Red Sox, for me Boston is the home of fictional detective Spenser (whose first name we never learn).  There are more than 40 Spenser novels written by Robert B. Parker, and all—for the most part—are set in Boston.  He is also featured in a television series (Spenser: For Hire) and a series of TV movies based on the novels.

I started reading Spenser novels when I was in high school, loving his wit and tenacity.  I have come back to Spenser in recent years, and I am more in love with these books now as an adult.  The mysteries are always good, but I especially love the colorful characters and descriptions of place.  I am in awe at how Parker uses the Spenser books as morality plays (a common function for current mysteries).

Spenser is a morally-centered outsider who enters situations of ethical and emotional chaos. Spenser as a detective is tough but sensitive, a poetic thug.  He interacts with the grime of human existence, but he also holds onto the beauty and goodness around him.  He often enjoys a fine drink at a classy hotel bar or makes foodie-quality corncakes for Sunday brunch with champagne or takes his dog Pearl for a run along the harbor.  And of course, he cracks wise.  A lot.

If you’re like me, and you want to see where Spenser lived (Marlborough Street) and worked (Boylston and Berkeley) and got shot (on the bridge in the Public Gardens) and drank (too many places to list), you might find this map helpful.  I’ve included the SLA conference on the map just so everyone has a common reference point.  If you have questions or you’d like to rave with a fellow Spenser fan, feel free to contact me on twitter @writerbrarian.

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