Spenser spends most of his time in Boston, which Parker knows well. But once in a while Spenser's cases take him elsewhere. It's likely that Parker uses personal experience to acquire the background for many of these field trips. One of the clearest instances of this comes from the author's travels to South Carolina, as evidenced in a radio interview:

"About ten years ago Joan and I did a coffee table book called "A Year at the Races," and the idea was to get a writer of some reputation who knew nothing about horse racing, send him out for a year to look at, follow the horses of a single racing stable, in this case Dogwood Farms of Aiken, South Carolina. And by good fortune or whatever, the yearling colt that we first saw down in Aiken...when they bring them out to start them the first thing they do is stand them in the starting gate for five minutes then they take them out, and they build from there. And the horse was Summer Squall, who if you are a racing fan you have heard of, he's one of the great horses of the last thirty years, and I saw him when he was a baby, being led into the stall. So we did that book and Viking concealed the fact of its publication from almost everyone...They did not promote the book; they snuck it out as quietly as they could. But all of that information that I acquired about horse racing I thought I may as well put to good use in a book that someone will actually read."
The David Brudnoy Show,  WBZ Radio 05, May, 2000

As of 2017 "A Year At The Races" is out of print but available from Amazon. (And Dogwood Stables is still in business as of this writing.) Aiken is a city of approximately 30,000 which, according to original Bullets and Beer reader James Dickert, strongly resembles Alton.

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