Robert B. Parker, creator of the Spenser series, has died


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Author Robert B. Parker, one of America’s preeminent crime writers, has died. Born in 1932 in Springfield, Mass., Parker wrote his PhD thesis on detective fiction and left a career teaching college English after his own writing became successful.

Parker hit it big with his Spenser series. Spenser was a classic tough-talking private eye, a former Boston boxer. Beginning with ‘The Gudwulf Manuscript’ in 1973 and running through 2009’s ‘The Professional,’ the Spencer series included almost 40 books.


It also spawned the television series ‘Spenser: For Hire,’ which ran from 1985 to 1988, starring Robert Urich, at right, as Spencer; Avery Brooks played his compatriot, Hawk.

When news began to circulate on Tuesday that Parker had died, it was reported that he did so while sitting at his desk in his Cambridge, Mass. home. Although Parker is gone, Spencer is likely to return: Sarah Weinman reports that at least two books from Parker are expected in 2010.

[Update: the original version of this post did not include information about Parker’s books expected in 2010, and included a spelling of ‘Spenser’ as ‘Spencer.’]

-- Carolyn Kellogg