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Widow's Walk [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert B. Parker
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 4 2003 Spenser (Book 29)

One of Boston’s elite has been murdered. The accused is his new wife. She’s blonde, beautiful, and young. The jury’s going to hate her. With next-to-no alibi, and multi-million reasons to kill her husband, she needs the best defense money can buy. His name is Spenser, and he’d give anything to believe her.

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Product Description

From Amazon

It's good to see private eye Spenser back in Boston, after his ludicrous imitation of a frontier lawman in Robert B. Parker's Potshot. But he's getting nowhere investigating the gunshot murder of banker Nathan Smith in Widow's Walk. The cops figure Smith's ingenuous but unfaithful young wife, Mary, pulled the trigger. She denies it. Spenser, hired by former prosecutor Rita Fiore to help build Mary Smith the best defense her money can buy, isn't sure either way, and the more time he spends on this case (dense with business and sexual deceptions), the more perplexed he becomes.

Of course, our poetry-spouting hero finally catches a break by linking Smith's demise to a convoluted real-estate scam. The rest of the novel offers plenty of Parker's characteristically witty dialogue, the slayings of several informants that you know from the get-go are toast, and ample opportunities for Spenser and his robustly menacing sidekick, Hawk, to intimidate lesser thugs. Unfortunately, the author isn't as attentive to the needs of other series regulars, including Spenser inamorata Susan Silverman, whose restrained jealousy toward lawyer Fiore ("Rita is sexually rapacious and perfectly amoral about it. I'm merely acknowledging that") and self-flagellation over a gay client's suicide somehow add no new depth to her character.

Parker has a propulsive prose style and can still concoct engrossing stories; his 2001 standalone Western, Gunman's Rhapsody, is a fine example. Widow's Walk doesn't quite meet that standard. Though entertaining, it's an unsatisfying chapter in a series that's become too predictable. --J. Kingston Pierce --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Last year Parker published three strong novels including the excellent Spenser mystery Potshot. So he's entitled to a miss and a pass and gets one with this forgettable Spenser entry. Attorney Rita Fiore, who's worked with the Boston PI before, hires Spenser to find out if her new client, Mary Smith, whom Spenser's cop pal Quirk describes as "dumber than my dick," indeed shot to death her husband, banker and Mayflower descendant Nathan Smith, as the evidence indicates. Spenser's search for the truth takes him into one of the most confusing (for the PI and the reader) cases of his long career; unusual for Parker, pages are needed at book's end to explain who did what and why. Sidekick Hawk pitches in to protect Spenser, and gunsel Vinnie Morris lends a hand, too, as several folks Spenser talks to wind up dead, and as the PI is trailed, then attacked, by thugs headquartered at a crooked land development company with ties to the dead man's bank. Susan, Spenser's beloved, offers some advice as well, but the ritual appearances by Spenser's crew, human and animal (Pearl the Wonder Dog, ancient and slow, waddles in here and there), while earning a nod of gratitude from series fans, do little to advance or deepen the proceedings. The novel stirs to life only fitfully, most notably in the confrontational exchanges between a female lawyer implicated in the crimes and her powerful attorney father; here, Parker taps into truth about familial loyalties. The writing is as clean as fresh ice, and from the opening sentence (" `I think she's probably guilty,' Rita Fiore said to me"), it's clear that readers are in the hands of a vet who knows what he's doing; but what Parker is doing here is, alas, not very interesting. (Mar.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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"I think she's probably guilty," Rita Fiore said to me. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Widow's Walk May 5 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Our well known private eye Spenser is back on the case in this one, trying to untangle a complex case involving a not-very-bright widow suspected by Boston's Finest of murdering her homosexual husband. Or was it a suicide? In the process, Spenser runs across a bank and real estate scam involving a host of characters who may or may not be involved in the original case.
This is vintage Spenser, with all of the sharp dialogue and clear, beautifully simple descriptive passages we've come to expect from Mr. Parker and his detective hero. It all makes for another fine read.
Pay no attention to carping critics. If they didn't criticize, who would think they were important? Buy the novel - and enjoy yourself once again in Spenser's Boston.
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By illiane
Format:Audio CD
I picked up Widow's Walk from the library, to listen to while I commuted to work. This was my introduction to Robert B. Parker and as such, also to Spenser.
Joe Mantegna reads very well for the characters and manages to convey very believable characters. As I listened, my imagination played some film noir soundtrack in the background.
There are a great many characters in the storyline. At one point I almost lost track of who was whom. And golly, everyone but the main characters seemed to die. It was as if they were all cursed with a Red Uniform from the original Star Trek days. And I think Parker seemed to concentrate more on having them dead than fleshing out the reasons or the writing behind the reasons for their deaths. The reasons just didn't seem to want to stick in my head. That felt unsatisfying.
All else considered, Widow's Walk was good for light reading, or listening, as the case was for me, but it wasn't exactly material that made me enthused about returning for another dose of Parker. I don't dislike his writing; it was just.. okay. It wasn't until I read the other Amazon readers' reviews for Widow's Walk that I figured I ought to give the earlier Spensers a go.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
We'll never tire of Spenser. I'm pretty certain of that. Even when we know the guy's going to end up being 80 years old, still checking out the babes, beating up the bad guys, with an emotional United Nations of friends and camp followers, even then we'll always enjoy his company for a few hundred pages.
Here he hooks up with an old flame, Rita Fiore, tries to help her client, the incredibly dumb Mary Smith, hangs with Cimoli, Quirk, Belson, Vinnie and Hawk, has his ashes hauled as usual by the ever size 5 Susan, and in the end, well, you know.
One disappointment for me was that he doesn't seem as sad as he used to be once faced with the darker side of the whims of life. As a consequence, Susan's sadness at the suicide of one of her patient's seems almost trite, certainly unnecessary. But it's Spenser being Spenser.
Hard to beat the early Spensers, but the recent ones ain't too shabby either. This one, "Widow's Walk," is one of the better novels of Parker's cast in the last ten years. Nevertheless, if you're new to the quintessential PI you shouild start with the early ones. These are some of the best mysteries in the last 50 years. Like the game we would play when we were kids, if you were going to take 10 mysteries with you on a deserted island, three would be by Parker written before 1985, possibly Gudwulf, Rachel Wallace, Ceremony, God Save the Child or A Savage Place.
But as Watson would tell Holmes, I digress. Spenser fans won't be disappinted in Widow's Walk.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Save your time and money May 4 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ho hum. There was a time when Spenser novels were fun and a little bit interesting. That was when Parker cared to find an original plot and to inject just a bit of suspense or make us care about his hero. Not so any more. Each Spenser book becomes a bit more of a self-parody. Parker likes to have Spenser trade black jokes with Hawk (safe because Hawk is black); then he trades gay jokes with a gay guy; women jokes with women; etc. Parker can't think of any new jokes, and this is tired...very tired. To be interesting, Spenser needs to be less cute and more dangerous. The plot doesn't hang together, nobody we care about is in any real danger, there's nothing new here--even Boston is kind of "sketched in" like the characters. Want to read somebody good? Read Block or Connelly. Parker's problem is all summed up neatly in the new picture on the back of the book. For years, Parker used a picture of him trying to look tough with shades, a doberman, a baseball jacket and hat. We knew he wasn't tough, but at least he was trying. Now they have a new jacket picture--he loooks like your old fat uncle...the one who used to play tricks on you at family reunions. This new book is like that: old, tired, unfunny, a bit obnoxious. Save your money, save your time.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Mr Parker Needs a Technical Consultant April 20 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I've never met a Spenser I didn't like and this one's no different. They're always a fun read and I don't try to analyze them too deeply.
I am however, a bit of a stickler for technical accuracy, especially when it breaks the case wide open. In this instance, it was the discovery of the .40 calibre pistol and how it was retrieved. Mr Parker erred twice, rather seriously. His first error was stating that the .40 caliber is a rare caliber. This is no longer the case. The .40 is quite popular and can be found in the holsters of many police departments. His second error was in stating that semi-auto pistols must have the hammer cocked in order to fire. Most modern semi-autos are either double-action or double-action-only pistols neither of which require that the hammer be cocked to fire. In fact one of the most popular .40 caliber pistols on the market is the Glock and it doesn't even have an external hammer.
Normally this sort of technical error would not be that important but in this case it was a major plot point and as such brought down my rating of the book overall. Next time, Mr Parker needs to do a little bit of research on firearms.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book
Published 4 days ago by richard fornwald
3.0 out of 5 stars Reliable Fare
This is the typical Spenser novel - same great characters: Spenser, Susan and Hawk + good story line and humor. Parker does smart tough guy dialogue as well as anyone. Read more
Published on Nov. 17 2003 by Rick Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Beantown banker goes down...
... but will the widow walk? Spenser gets hired by the widow's defense attorney to help clear her of murder. Read more
Published on May 11 2003 by Paul Skinner
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent, but,,,,
Confusing. I don't like trying to twist my brain around a complicated bank fraud/murder mystery when reading a Spenser novel. Dialougue is still great.
Published on April 12 2003 by Jamie
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit tired, but still worthwhile
I agree with those that feel that the Spenser series has seen its best days. Maybe Parker realizes that also, and is using the dog Pearl's aging as a plot device hinting that time... Read more
Published on March 20 2003 by Neal C. Reynolds
4.0 out of 5 stars A return to good form
Mr Parker's Spenser has been taking a second seat next to the Jessie Stone novels lately, and you can tell. Hush Money was fine, but Hugger Mugger and Potshot were awful. Read more
Published on March 15 2003 by Daniel Byrd
3.0 out of 5 stars Ahhh, Refreshing
Parker rebounds nicely from the disappointing Potshot, putting Spenser back where he belongs - in Boston, and away from the dirtballs that populated Potshot (well, okay, we do have... Read more
Published on March 2 2003 by jrmspnc
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best in the series, but I enjoyed it anyway...
My copy of this Spenser novel was borrowed, not purchased. Therefore, the fact that it isn't quite as good as most of the others I've read didn't bother me too much. Read more
Published on Dec 8 2002 by William E. Adams
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