This one played the neon-light-blink, moaning-blues song of the lonely P.I., but with a sugar plum twist of Spenser's ideal of Romantic Love oozing out-of-the-funk. Susan cast a long shadow in the background until Spenser drew her into his Spotlight midway through the plot. Prior to Susan's entrance, The Master P.I. had walked alone. Not even the Hawk had flown there, except for a cool cameo in the plot conclusion. Spenser narrated the soliloquy scene so well at times that the style in THE WIDENING GYRE, # 10 in series, read like a diary dealing with the sad refrain of "Susan's away" (she was in Washington DC, getting her PhD, developing her "Me").
When Susan did arrive in plot ... actually Spenser went to DC were she was solidly steeped into her "schooling"; stuck-in-the-mud of its professional status of mining/mixing ... she and Spencer exchanged a few thought provoking conversations, doodling boarders around Cynicism and Romantic Love. With interesting irony, Susan was the cynic, interpreting each human action/feeling as self-serving. Those conversations, containing several pages of quotable-keepers, set a large segment of the baseline for the evolving Silverman/Spenser mystique. (See chapters 19 & 22, in particular.)
Well prior to those scenes, eighteen-year-old Paul had arrived at Spenser's apartment to share the Thanksgiving holiday, and zinged Spenser with a few passages of "blow-your-socks-off" wisdom about intimacy breaking down Spenser's previously well-contained-and-clearly-coded "me-ness." If nothing else had given me a clue, I would have known Spenser was in a MOOD in this one (entertaining to the reader though not to him) by the dull description of food available, and resultant location of the "Be Thankful" dining event.
I'm glad I didn't miss the touching (and telling) comment Spenser made to one of the Grannies involved in the voyeurism scenes, as he walked away from her after having "saved her bacon" (though no cast iron skillets sizzled in this one).
I enjoyed riding along through Spenser's daily diary submissions about booze and caffeine, describing the ticking of minutes as he struggled to stretch the timing and flavor of his culinary "vices" ... which The Experts had proclaimed bad one year (or decade), good the next. This series is a fascinating vehicle for recalling the years when certain habits emerged with stamps of sanction or sacrilege. From my observations, the 70's were the time of shuffling every card of "Do" and "Don't"; sorting and re-sorting the ups and downs of each trump of life-and-taste, until Flavor Itself, along with Human Nature were condemned as Ultimate Evils.
Such a deal. And that makes sense why?
Sigh. Maybe a decade will arrive in which sanity, or even a useful sentience will emerge from the abused bowels of the human race. Maybe the pseudo varieties of Science will slither down the drains in the dungeons of drudgery, and what's left to pick up from The School floor will clean up into something based on truth instead of in alternate fad pushing (with punishment, $$$, and fame the partially hidden intents).
(An informative, intriguing series of Amazon Shorts is currently available on Amazon USA which addresses evolutions around some of this thinking, which was upchucked and overturned in the 70's, then poked and picked to death in the 80's and 90's. In the 00's, we seem to be in a stupor of gyration to the sloshes of aftermath. Is it any wonder this is the outcome of the age which coined "Duh"? The series of which I'm speaking was presented by scientists Gregory Benford and Michael Rose. I've recently reviewed the first 5 of their series of Amazon Shorts.)
I was intrigued by Spenser's play on "Gyre" in his book-front-dedication and quote from William Butler Yeats, "The Second Coming." Parker asks, "Can the center hold, or not." That was the question. Spenser seemed to be dramatizing that it can. He added a how and why.
WIDENING GYRE was a classy offering in this cultural landmark of a series. I very much enjoyed the slight-lime-twist on the classic "voice" of the low-key, poor-me, lonely P. I. My thanks to Parker for staying true-to-soul and avoiding another same-ole detective series. That well-established, long-trod genre has abundantly and sensually filled a void with lip-smacking (and bone-shattering) satisfaction. But for me, The World's need for Spenser was/is like its need for gravity.
Bless the same-ole, along with the unique (maybe they need each other),