Mystery writer Robert B. Parker died yesterday at the age of 77. He was just “sitting at his desk.” Not a bad way to go for a writer that put out 3 books a year, who wrote 5 to 10 pages a day.

He was one of the great ones, one of those writers that gave the private-eye novel several standards that we take for granted now (the dangerous, possible psycho sidekick ala Hawk comes to mind). And if he didn’t invent a new element, he certainly made it popular.

I haven’t read a lot of his stuff. I started reading the Spenser books in 2001, going in order, trying to read a novel a year. This always felt like a strange way to work through the canon. I think of these works as “popcorn books” – I can usually finish a Spenser in one or two sittings and then immediately be ready for more. I spaced them out because I knew from experience that rushing through an author and reading too much too soon can be a bad thing.

Tonight I’ll be starting A SAVAGE PLACE. And, who knows, maybe on Friday I’ll throw my one-a-year rule out the window and dive into the next one.

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