19 July 2006
Book Banter -- The Godwulf Manuscript
Title: The Godwulf Manuscript
Author: Robert B. Parker
Length: 187 pages
Plot Basics: When a small college outside of Boston has a rare medieval manuscript stolen, they hire Spenser, a private investigator, to get it back. The college thinks a group of campus radicals is responsible. But later, when one of the top suspects calls Spenser because her boyfriend's been murdered, the case becomes more dangerous than just recovering the manuscript.
Banter Points: Parker is set to get a life-time achievement award for writing mysteries from the Bouchercon folks this fall and it's easy to see why. He's been writing Spenser books now for 30+ years (Godwulf was originally released in 1973). The writing is tight, the mystery fast-paced and the characters sharp and well-defined.
Bummer Points: Not necessarily a drawback, but Word Nerd has it on good authority from a major Parker fan that minor characters do come back and the major characters change over time, so it's important to go back and start at the beginning of the series. With 30 years of writing though, that's quite a backlist of titles.
Word Nerd recommendation: If you like mysteries and haven't read Parker, go read him. If you aren't a big mystery reader, Parker is a good guy to start with to see how a good one is put together.