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Melancholy Baby (Sunny Randall Novels) [Mass Market Paperback]

Robert B. Parker
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback, 4 Oct 2005 --  

Book Description

4 Oct 2005 Sunny Randall Novels (Book 4)
The fourth novel in the bestselling series featuring Sunny Randall who now must face the unthinkable: the marriage of her ex-husband, Richie, to someone else. So when college student Sarah Markham comes asking for help in finding her birth parents, Sunny realises she must take the case, if only to distract her from her personal life. Before the investigation has a chance to take off, two key players are dead and Sunny is back on a psychiatrist's couch, probing her own past for clues. Emotionally complex and rich with insight, this is Parker at his best.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 292 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group; Reprint edition (4 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425204219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425204214
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 10.6 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,755,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) has long been acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction. His novel featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye Spenser earned him a devoted following and reams of critical acclaim, typified by R.W.B. Lewis' comment, "We are witnessing one of the great series in the history of the American detective story" (The New York Times Book Review). In June and October of 2005, Parker had national bestsellers with APPALOOSA and SCHOOL DAYS, and continued his winning streak in February of 2006 with his latest Jesse Stone novel, SEA CHANGE.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Parker attended Colby College in Maine, served with the Army in Korea, and then completed a Ph.D. in English at Boston University. He married his wife Joan in 1956; they raised two sons, David and Daniel. Together the Parkers founded Pearl Productions, a Boston-based independent film company named after their short-haired pointer, Pearl, who has also been featured in many of Parker's novels.

Parker began writing his Spenser novels in 1971 while teaching at Boston's Northeastern University. Little did he suspect then that his witty, literate prose and psychological insights would make him keeper-of-the-flame of America's rich tradition of detective fiction. Parker's fictional Spenser inspired the ABC-TV series Spenser: For Hire. In February 2005, CBS-TV broadcast its highly-rated adaptation of the Jesse Stone novel Stone Cold, which featured Tom Selleck in the lead role as Parker's small-town police chief. The second CBS movie, Night Passage, also scored high ratings, and the third, Death in Paradise, aired on April 30, 2006.

Parker was named Grand Master of the 2002 Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.

Parker died on January 19, 2010, at the age of 77.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Some of Robert B. Parker's most distinctive novels over the years (God Save the Child, Early Autumn, Ceremony, etc.) have centered on young people in trouble, so his return to that theme in Melancholy Baby is hardly a surprise. What's more remarkable is how deftly he uses the case of an angry, confused college student searching for the facts about her family background as a means to pry open the hardly less troubled psyche of Boston private eye Sonya "Sunny" Randall, a character at serious risk of one day outshining Parker's better-known but less reflective gumshoe, Spenser.

Twenty-one-year-old trust-fund kid Sarah Markham suspects that her parents aren't really related to her at all. "They can't find my birth certificate," she tells Sunny in amazement. "They don’t remember which hospital I was born in." This isn't the sort of inquiry Sunny likes to take on, especially not now, when her ex-husband of five years, Richie Burke--whom she still hasn't given up loving--is marrying another woman. However, Sunny needs a distraction from self-pity, and she can see that "everything about Sarah and her parents seemed fraudulent ... like something that had been built on the cheap, with shoddy materials and no craft, to conceal something unhealthy and mean." As she tears at this façade, though, traveling to Illinois and New York City in order to expose secrets not only in Sarah's father's past but in the history of a holier-than-thou radio celeb, Sunny discovers that her client isn't the only person being kept in the dark. But is it worth destroying Sarah's sense of herself--not to mention attracting the malicious notice of well-armed thugs--to set the record straight? And can Sunny even accomplish this, while struggling (with help from Spenser's psychiatrist girlfriend, Susan Silverman) to understand why she's 37 years old and "just can’t be married"?

Any halfway-conscious reader will spot the solution to this story's mystery from miles off, and Parker's use of central-casting figures--the hypocritical moralizer, the oleaginous but natty shyster--should earn him free admission to a "How to Create Credible Characters" seminar. Still, it's hard not to be charmed by a novel that's as willing as Melancholy Baby is to knock the pins out from under its protagonist, and see where the angst falls. At Dr. Silverman's rates, Sunny had better figure her life out soon. --J. Kingston Pierce

Review

Praise for Family Honor:

'Lean and fast' (The Guardian )

'I fell in love with his books' (Helen Hunt )

'Parker packs more meaning into a whispered "yeah" than most writers can pack into a page.' (The Sunday Times )

'Compact, percussive storytelling by a writer who knows his job and does it to the letter' (Literary Review )

'The writing and characters are a delight.' (Sunday Times )

'Sleek, ingenious, well-muscled entertainment.' (Literary Review ) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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First Sentence
My ex-husband was getting married to a woman I wanted to kill. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Amazon Customer HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Rolling around in my head is the notion of what a Tom Clancy novel would be like if Robert B. Parker wrote it, because reading this latest Sunny Randall novel reminded me that Parker is the most economical story teller that I read on a regular basis. This is a quote from "The Washington Post Book World" on the front flap that says "Parker can reveal more about a character in five words of dialogue than many writers can in an entire book." "Melancholy Baby" is 296-pages long and has 64 chapters, and since the lines are spaced 1-1/2 lines it is easy reading on the eyes as well.

This fourth Sunny Randall novel begins with our heroine in a very bad move because Ritchie, her ex-husband, is getting married to a woman that Sunny wants to kill and getting a much pleasure out of the idea before she finally has to let go of it. Sunny knows that she does not want to be married and apparently while she can live with Rosie, her bull terrier, she cannot live with anybody else but her dog. Two things end up helping Sunny get out of her funk. First, she gets a new client, Sarah Markham, a college student who has become convinced that her parents are not her biological parents. Her parents insist they are really her parents, but refuse to take DNA tests to prove it. Sarah is living off a trust fund so she has the cash to push the effort. Anybody who has read one of Parker's novels knows that the modus operandi is for Sunny to go around and ask questions to see what shakes loose, because something always does sooner or later and there are usually dead bodies involved.
The other thing that helps Sunny get her head straight is going to see a shrink, and not just any shrink but Susan Silverman (who else?).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Who are you? How do you know who you are?
Robert B. Parker takes a fresh look at both questions in this wry and ironical novel.
PI Sunny Randall finds the ground swept out from under her feet when her ex-husband, Richie, announces he will remarry. Sunny cannot live with or without Richie, and she finds herself needing to find out what her true motivations are. Why cannot she be married to the man she loves?
At the same time, Sunny takes on a new client, Sarah Markham, a troubled young woman who wants to know who her birth parents are. Sunny doesn't much like the client, but sympathizes with her troubled self-image while being something of a role model to Sarah.
Sunny soon decides that there's something wrong in the Markham family. Neither parent will submit to DNA testing, and their reasons don't make much sense. The "parents" are vague about everything else. What are they hiding? Matters quickly become more dangerous when Sarah and her boyfriend are roughed up, and the same goons come looking for Sunny. But did they count on Spike?
While the case proceeds, Sunny starts twice-a-week therapy sessions with a new therapist, Dr. Susan Silverman, who will fascinate you in her cool professional role.
The mystery in this book isn't really much of a mystery. It's more of an investigative procedural.
The developing identity story is a fascinating one, and the book is riveting when Mr. Parker turns his attention into that arena.
The book's major flaw is that Mr. Parker cannot quite take himself seriously. He puts little jokes into the book that distract from the story and take you away from being inside story with the characters. A good example is having Sunny endlessly fantasizing about what kind of a Harvard professor Susan hangs out with. Really!
As usual, the dialogue sparkles like perfectly polished diamonds do on a sunny day. The therapy session dialogues are quite remarkable.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
Who are you? How do you know who you are?
Robert B. Parker takes a fresh look at both questions in this wry and ironical novel.
PI Sunny Randall finds the ground swept out from under her feet when her ex-husband, Richie, announces he will remarry. Sunny cannot live with or without Richie, and she finds herself needing to find out what her true motivations are. Why cannot she be married to the man she loves?
At the same time, Sunny takes on a new client, Sarah Markham, a troubled young woman who wants to know who her birth parents are. Sunny doesn't much like the client, but sympathizes with her troubled self-image while being something of a role model to Sarah.
Sunny soon decides that there's something wrong in the Markham family. Neither parent will submit to DNA testing, and their reasons don't make much sense. The "parents" are vague about everything else. What are they hiding? Matters quickly become more dangerous when Sarah and her boyfriend are roughed up, and the same goons come looking for Sunny. But did they count on Spike?
While the case proceeds, Sunny starts twice-a-week therapy sessions with a new therapist, Dr. Susan Silverman, who will fascinate you in her cool professional role.
The mystery in this book isn't really much of a mystery. It's more of an investigative procedural.
The developing identity story is a fascinating one, and the book is riveting when Mr. Parker turns his attention into that arena.
The book's major flaw is that Mr. Parker cannot quite take himself seriously. He puts little jokes into the book that distract from the story and take you away from being inside story with the characters. A good example is having Sunny endlessly fantasizing about what kind of a Harvard professor Susan hangs out with. Really!
As usual, the dialogue sparkles like perfectly polished diamonds do on a sunny day. The therapy session dialogues are quite remarkable.
Comment | 
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