First Sentence: I had just finished a job for an interesting woman named Nan Sartin, and was happily making out my bill to her, when a woman came in who promised to be equally interesting.
A local lawyer hires Spenser to meet with four of her clients. These four women are each married to an older, wealthy man. They have also each been having an affair with, and are now being blackmailed by the same man, Gary Eisenhower, and they want Spenser to end the threat. Or do they? One woman's husband is not wealthy, nor does she want Gary to go away. As the case ebbs and flows, things become more serious and someone dies.
In some ways, you can pass this off as just another Spenser book; formulaic but enjoyable. But not quite. Yes, you have Spenser's apparent chauvinism and ego, his wonderful, easy cooking--these books always make me hungry--the humor--would Hawk really read Janet Evanovich?--and Susan, but there was a bit more here than that. Usually I can't stand women who are just too stupid to live, but when Parker written them, you know it is a very deliberate element of the plot.
An element I found interesting was that the story took place over a matter of months, rather than days as do many mysteries. I also don't remember Spenser employing French in previous books. One thing I feel is very well done is that, as Spencer ages, there is less still the element of threat, but less physical violence than once was.
I appreciated Spenser's introspection regarding his relationship with Susan, "sometimes I thought that Susan was the only thing in life that I care about. But I knew that if it were actually so, it would destroy us. We both needed to work. We both had to do things...It was cases like the one I was on that reminded me now and then that I could care about other things."
I found this a very good read. Oh, and thank you, Putnam, for including the map of Spenser's Boston on the inside covers. I do love maps.
THE PROFESSIONAL (PI-Spenser-Boston-Cont) - VG
Parker, Robert B - 38th in series
Putnam, 2009, US Hardcover - ISBN: 9780399155949