Sunday, December 31, 2000

Book review: HUGGER MUGGER by Robert B. Parker

Do you like your action hard-boiled? You won’t be disappointed with HUGGER MUGGER by Robert B. Parker, the latest Spenser novel, published by Putnam. Spenser is a private dick, bounced from the Suffolk County (Mass.) police 30 years ago because he lives by his own knightly code. In a change of pace from the usual New England locales, he is on the road to investigate race horse shootings at a stable in Georgia that includes the up and coming Hugger Mugger. The horses are owned by Walter Clive, father of three daughters--the oldest one is single and runs the operation and feels unappreciated [King Lear anyone?]; the two younger ones don’t do much at all except take up space with their ne’er-do-well husbands. The case is left unsolved but Spenser returns when Clive turns up dead. Whodunit? And why? Is the murder tied into the horse shootings or is it coincidence? What about the possibly bastard son by Clive’s former and final mistress and the three girls’ mother, the unReconstructed hippie ex-Mrs. Clive? There’s fortune at stake and plenty of motive for murder. Spenser pokes around, claiming that it looks bad for a former client to turn up dead, but we know it's another crusade for justice in a world where the rich get their way when good people do nothing.
I missed a Spenser regular, the redoubtable Hawk, who is in France during the events of this book, but the local sheriff provides a good bantering partner for Spenser. He spills enough for Spenser to pursue the facts, but not enough to have it come back to him.
I paid a little more at Posner’s Bookstore in Grand Central Station to get a signed copy. Support your small bookseller if you can and pick up a copy of HUGGER MUGGER.
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