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Widow's Walk Paperback – Mar 4 2003

3.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (March 4 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 042518904X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425189047
  • Product Dimensions: 10.7 x 2.4 x 19 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 172 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #290,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: Kindle Edition
I checked this book out of the library and while I was waiting for others to complete their searches I started reading it. I began laughing out loud and when my partner asked me what was so funny, she had me read the passages to her. She also laughed. I finally had to stop reading it in the library because I was causing a disturbance.
The wife (Mary Smith) of a very wealthy man (Nathan Smith) is accused of killing him. She is a dolt, nearly unable to answer even the simplest of questions. Her alibi is that she was downstairs watching television while he was in his bedroom getting shot. Rita Fiore hires Spenser to look into the case, which allows for the initial dialog between Rita and Spenser. As Spenser starts looking into the case, strange things happen, in that people start being killed. Yet, the only pattern to the killings is that they are people who talk to Spenser and may have given him information.
The plot becomes very convoluted, in that Nathan Smith had a very checkered past of involvement with young boys and Mary Smith continued to have affairs after the marriage. Not just affairs, but involvement with very unsightly men. As the story unfolded, I often wondered if Mary is in truth as stupid as she portrays herself. There is a climactic ending where Spenser has a shootout with the evil man, whose identity is not revealed until he is lying dead in a puddle of mud.
This is one of the very best Spenser novels, the dialog remains crisp throughout and there is the continuous hint of possible action between Spenser and Rita Fiore. There are many convolutions to the plot that keep you confused and that is one of the most enjoyable aspects of a mystery novel.
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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: 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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