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The Godwulf Manuscript Mass Market Paperback – Dec 5 1992


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (Dec 5 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440129613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440129615
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 1.4 x 17.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #167,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The office of the university president looked like the front parlor of a successful Victorian whorehouse. Read the first page
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By John M. Ford TOP 100 REVIEWER on Oct. 12 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the first in a long series (39 books) by Robert Parker about Boston private investigator Spenser. Nonreaders know him from the Spenser For Hire TV series. Spenser is tough, literate, and has a strong sense or personal honor. Endearingly, he gets beat up a lot.

In his debut book, Spenser is hired by The University to recover a stolen manuscript. There are no useful cues and we get the impression that the University is just going through the motions. Perhaps to satisfy their insurance carrier. For his part, Spenser seems to take the case for the pleasure of baiting the pompous university administrator and his staff. Well worth it. He begins investigating a professor and one of the radical student organizations making big noises on campus. Soon he is defending a girl charged with murder who tells an unbelievable story. Spenser believes her, of course. It develops from there.

I have enjoyed Robert Parker's Jesse Stone series and heard many good things about his Spenser series--including that it is much better than the Stones. I vaguely remember liking the few Spenser for Hire episodes I have seen. And I did like a lot about this book. The plot is not predictable, Spenser's irreverent comments are clever, and the action-suspense mix feels right. What pulls it down is how it is embedded in the sixties campus culture. Maybe it was edgy when it was written, but now it seems riddled with clichés (yeah--sorry about that).
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By L. J. Roberts TOP 100 REVIEWER on March 24 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First Sentence: The office of the university president looked like the front parlor of a successful Victorian whorehouse.

Boston PI Spenser (with an 's' like the poet) has been hired by a university president to recover a 14th century illuminated manuscript. He is directed to a SCARE, the Student committee Against Capitalist Exploitation and Terry Orchard, one of the members, whom he finds along with her aggressive boyfriend, Dennis. Spenser receives a 2 a.m. call and finds Terry drugged. Dennis dead and the evidence of a professional hit.

I've not read this book since the 1970s and it is an interesting cultural look back. I am very happy fashions have changed away from white vinyl boots and leisure suits and that technology has advanced from mimeographs and typewriters. As silly as some of the slang sounds today, at least it wasn't as profane as today's speech.

It is also interesting looking at Spenser in his later 30s. He still thought he was funnier than anyone else did. This is a pre-Hawk, pre-Susan Spencer. As annoying as Susan can be, the one thing she did bring to the series was Spenser's monogamy.

What hasn't changed is Spenser's doggedness, determination to see the case through, dedication to the innocent and his cooking. I am always amazed that he has just the right ingredients in his kitchen to make a wonderful meal.

What Parker did extremely well was description, dialogue and plot. With a very few words, you knew where you were and the other characters in the scene. He often employed analogies''The wet wool smelled like a grammar room coatroom.''which put you right into his scene. His dialogue, even with the slang of the period, was always tight, crisp and real. As to plot, the story started a bit light and annoying.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first book in the Spenser series. Robert Parker had obviously done his homework well - he wrote his doctoral thesis on the Private Eye genre of writing! An English Professor living in the Boston area, Parker was sure to write a story near and dear to his heart.
The plot: an illuminated manuscript is stolen. A student is killed, his girlfriend framed, and a tie to left-wing politics, drugs, and all the rest is involved. The story brings our first look at Joe Broz, but Spenser kills off his only two "muscle men" we meet. We also meet Spenser's two favorite cops - Lt. Quirk and Frank Belson.
The story is in "a university" which is studiously unnamed, in Boston by Roxbury. We get the girl's parents on the hill in West Newton, the English Professor on the beach at Marblehead. Lots of talk about the drives between these places. A double murder at Jamaica Pond, a stay at the Boston City Hospital. The final scene takes place at the Copley Plaza hotel.
Wow, what a different "Spenser" from the most recent books! Spenser has gone through a DRAMATIC transformation since this first rough-and-dirty portrayal. In many ways, Spenser is just beginning to develop his personality in this story. There's no Susan, no Hawk, no self-assured steadfastness. Spenser drinks a lot, puts himself down, wisecracks a bit too much, and (this is the best part) sleeps with a mother AND her daughter within 24 hours. It was just too much! Oh, quite enjoyable, of course. All the basic Spenser components are there, in a sort of rough form. The plot was good, the people excellent, the descriptive scenery as always lovely.
Those who follow Spenser through the series will note that Parker introduced a few ideas here which he later abandoned.
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