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Robert B. Parker left a mark on the detective novel
Robert B. Parker left a mark on the detective novel

Robert B. Parker, who died Monday in his Cambridge, Mass., home at age 77, spent his final moments doing exactly what he'd done for almost four decades: sitting at his desk, working on his next novel. He didn't concern himself with looking back. Instead, he wrote, and in the process irrevocably altered American detective fiction, forging a link between classic depictions and more contemporary approaches to the form. Parker produced more than five dozen books in a variety of styles, including westerns, historical fiction, a marriage memoir and a nonfiction account of horse racing. But the bulk of his writing revolves around Spenser, the one-named, Korean War vet detective first...

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