Series Spenser
Publisher Delacorte Press
Publication date 1990
Media type hardcover
ISBN 0-399-13537-5
Preceded by Playmates
Followed by Pastime

Cover InformationEdit

"For Joan: No dream in vain"

Taken from the back cover of the Berkley paperback edition

"Spenser is back in the spotlight! Robert B. Parker, one of the greatest mystery writers of our time, introduces his tough-talking hero to one of the wildest clients of his career: Jill Joyce, the star of TV's Fifty Minutes. She's beautiful, bitchy, sexy--and someone is stalking her. Spenser can hardly blame the would-be assassin...until he's drawn into a nightmare that gives new meaning to the term "stage fright." STARDUST is an instant classic of hard-boiled suspense by the all-time master...."

(ever notice how these jacket teasers sound like they're ads for prime-time soaps or tabloid shows? I'm glad the books themselves don't read like this. Sheesh)

Recurring CharactersEdit

  • Here we first meet Victor Del Rio, the L.A. Mexican crime boss, who fathered a child, Amanda, through Jill. Jill has since then severed all ties with him and her daughter, and as such the young Amanda is doing much better. We'll see him again briefly in Thin Air.
  • We also meet Del Rio's shooter, Chollo, who puts in an extended appearance in Thin Air.
  • Detective Samuelson (cf. A Savage Place). The LA cop who investigated Spenser's involvement in the Candy Sloan case offers some brief help on finding Victor Del Rio.
  • Frank Belson, the ever-present policeman for dead guys, shows up when Babe Loftus, Jill's stunt double, is murdered on the set.
  • Lt. Martin Quirk pops up a couple of times, investigating the death of Babe Loftus and apparent suicide of Wilfred Pomeroy, Jill's one-time husband for about a month.
  • Susan gets Spenser the case, since she's acting as technical consultant to the fictitious show, Fifty Minutes (the show is about a psychiatrist, after all). Mike made a serious error here; let me quote contributor Simone Hochreiter: "The character Jill is playing is a psychologist (which makes sense, since Susan is also a psychologist.) The difference between psychologist and psychiatrist a psychiatrist is a medical doctor, specializing in mental illness (he can prescribe drugs as well). A psychologist did study psychology and usually works as psychotherapist or psychoanalyst and is NOT allowed to prescribe drugs." A close friend of mine was treated by a psychiatrist, and with proper medication she overcame suicidal depression. In the course of that I came to know the difference very well and should have caught this. Thanks Simone.
  • Hawk does some bodyguard duty for Jill until she cuts and runs after unsuccessfully trying to seduce him.
  • Stanley Rojack, one of the thugs in this story, is indirectly connected to Joe Broz. So Joe sort of fits in here (don't worry, we'll see Joe in the flesh in Pastime).
  • Spenser and Hawk work out at Henry's briefly. One of these days I'm going to add the current state of the Harbor Health Club to each story he appears in, so we can see how much it has changed over the years. It's on the wish list.
  • Spenser gets a letter from Paul Giacomin, in France.
  • Joel Cassway wrote to point out three other characters unseen but mentioned:
    • Rachel Wallace, who had sent him a bottle of Glenfiddich the past Christmas
    • Linda Thomas, who had once worked across the street. The building isn't even there anymore but the memory still lives.
    • Candy Sloan, whose grave he visits in California. Some bodyguard.

Unanswered QuestionsEdit

  • So, was Hawk able to take care of Rojack and Randall the human rottweiler? Presumably so, considering Hawk's uh, abilities, but the story ended before that was resolved (even though Hawk assures Spenser that it will be taken care of).
  • I'm never really sure, but was Fifty Minutes on location in Boston for just one episode, or does it always take place in Boston? My guess is that it takes place in Boston, since Susan is a technical consultant, and if it took place elsewhere, the show would most likely use a psychotherapist from that vicinity. Spenser: For Hire was filmed entirely within the state of Massachusetts, although some editing was done in Hollywood (thanks to Eryk Rotondo for correcting me here; I had originally erroneously stated that only location shots were done in Boston and the rest was filmed in Hollywood. Mea Culpa).
  • So, when do we get to learn Spenser's first name, dammit? Not in this lifetime, Mike. I have answered this question so many times that I paste the following into E-mail replies: "When Parker was writing his first book, The Godwulf Manuscript, he gave his character the first name David, in honor of one of his sons. But he then considered that his other son Dan might wind up being jealous, so he deleted all references and simply called him Spenser. Over time it became a running joke and he has stated that it will remain that way." (At least we know Spenser's first initial is almost certainly D!)

Literary References, or "The Annotated Gumshoe"Edit

Chapter 1:

  • "So many dorks, so little time" - Probably a play on a line from one of FDR's Fireside Chats [February 23, 1942]: "Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much." However, Dennis Tallett writes: "We generally say "So much to do, so little time". Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902), English administrator, gold, diamond and real estate entrepreneur upon which the famous scholarships were founded, said "So little done, so much to do". But he must have got it from Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) who wrote, "So many words, so much to do/So little done, such things to be".From 'In Memoriam', line 73. In addition, Mikael Igge Holmberg writes: "I believe that it was Mae West, well known for her daring comments, that once said "So many men, so little time" But I can´t remember the film or year so consider this unconfirmed to say the least."

Chapter 3:

  • "What becomes a legend most" Steven Rubio writes: "This was the tagline for a series of advertisements... not sure when, around the time the book was written or a little earlier, I think... the ads were for furs. Don't remember if they were for a particular brand of fur... Blackglama? Is that a brandname? Anyway, the ads would feature famous people in their furs... Lillian Hellman comes to mind for some reason. So when Spenser sees Jill in her mink, he says to himself, "What becomes a legend most?" Alvan W. Foote III adds: "One of the more famous models was Barbara Streisand."
Blackglama®, now a subsidiary of American Legend Inc., ran quite a number of these ads over the years. A partial list of models read as follows: Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Barbara Streisand, Catherine Deneuve, Diana Ross, and Marlena Dietrich. After a ten year hiatus Linda Evangelista in 2000 and Giselle Bundchen in 2002 continued the tradition.

Chapter 5:

  • "She held her hand out toward the guy, whose face ran the gamut of emotions from A to B." - It's a very clever line and I thought it was just Parker pulling off another good one. Contributor Frank G. Wilkes knew better: "This is a reference to the Dorothy Parker review of 'The Lake' starring Katherine Hepburn. It opened on Dec. 26, 1933 and DP wrote in The New Yorker: 'Miss Hepburn runs the gamut of emotion from A to B.'" I know that Ms. Parker was justly famous for her scathing reviews but I had never encountered this one. Good call, Frank.

Chapter 8:

  • "Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown." - Shakespeare, King Henry IV, Part II [1598], Act III, Scene 1, line 31.

Chapter 9:

  • "What are you captain of?" "My soul" - A reference to William Ernest Hanley’s Echoes [1888], No. 4 in Memoriam R. T. Hamilton Bruce ("Invictus"), stanza 4: "I am the master of my fate; / I am the captain of my soul." A lot of other people have jumped on the "my own fate" bandwagon, including Tennyson: "For man is man and master of his fate." - Idylls of the King [1859-1885], The Marriage of Geraint, line 352, and Nehru: "capable of becoming true man, master of his fate and captain of his soul." - Edgar Snow, Journey to the Beginning [1958].

Chapter 10:

  • "The Peaceable Kingdom." - A painting (or rather a series of them) by Edward Hicks based on Isaiah 11:6-9 "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a child shall lead them." He painted more than a hundred versions; about 50 survive today.

Chapter 12:

  • "Lead on, MacBeth." - A common misquoting of Shakespeare’s Macbeth [1606], Act V, Scene 7, line 62: "Lay on, MacDuff."
  • "'tis the season to be jolly" - A line from the Christmas carol Deck the Halls (anyone care to supply a composer and a year?) It's listed as a "Traditional Welsh carol." See Lyrics
  • "All's fair in love and war" - Francis Edward Smedley, Frank Fairleigh [1850] chapter 50.

Chapter 22:

  • "Can this be a clue I see before me?" - A nod to Macbeth by William Shakespeare, Act 2 scene 1.
"Is this a dagger which I see before me,The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation, Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?"
I like to quote the whole passage as a reminder of where the classic Star Trek series got the episode title "Daggers of the Mind."

Chapter 24:

  • "Tom Mix and his Ralston Straight Shooters." - Dennis Tallett supplied this one: "The Ralston Straight Shooters appeared on a youth oriented radio show 1933-1950, sponsored by the Ralston Purina Co. Their pledge was: Hot Ralston was the Straight Shooter's cereal; Hot Ralston the cereal to help build a stronger America. Tom Mix, originally a U.S. Marshall, became a star, beginning in 1910, in 400 low-budget westerns as well as appearing in radio serials."

Chapter 26:

  • "Hot diggity." - Hisao Tomaihari reminded me to this link to Oft Quoted

Chapter 31:

  • "Sic transit the whole caboodle" - Most likely a play on "Sic transit gloria mundi" (So passes away the glory of the world), from Thomas à Kempis's Imitation of Christ [circa 1420], Book I, Chapter 3. Note that these words are used in the crowning of the pope. In the George C. Scott movie Patton the general notes in a voice-over that as the Roman Emperor was praised in his passage on the street a slave would whisper to him "sic transit gloria," so that he should remember that "all glory is fleeting." I'll rent the movie one of these days to get the exact quote.

Chapter 32:

  • "The stuff that dreams are made of." - See Oft Quoted. BTW, it is unlikely that Bogie ever saw Susan's butt.
  • "As if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen." - From The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot. See Poetry
  • "If you eat only one at a time of tortellini, are you eating a tortellenum?" - Iain Campbell, whose insights grace very many of these pages, offers this scholarly view of the question: "Tortellini is of course Italian. However, Spenser seems to joke that it is Latin, implying that tortellini is a masculine nominative plural. In that case, the sentence would have to read, not tortellinum (neuter nominative singular), but tortellinus (the singular of tortellini) (unless of course, RBP realized that the transitive verb "are eating" takes an object, thus transforming tortellinus (masculine nominative case) into tortellinum (masculine accusative case). This I would doubt. Can't believe how useful all those years of Latin would turn out to be."

Chapter 33:

  • "A slave to Bacchus" - It should be mentioned here that Bacchus was the Roman god of wine and fertility (Dionysus is the greek counterpart), hence the reference to the fact that Susan consumed a whole gram of wine (gasp!).

Chapter 34:

  • "Jack E. Leonard impression." - An aging comedian of the old school, who thrust his identity as a Jew in your face, and forced you to view things from that perspective. The pantomime Susan performs is common to many cultures and has become a cliché: a hand put to one's chest denoting that they are either appealing to God or their child is going to give them a fatal heart attack.
  • "Liquor stores were doing a land-office business." - Welcome to the American West of the 1800s. The native population was forced at gunpoint to give up their claims on territories that their ancestors had lived on since forever and move elsewhere, ceding vast tracts of land to the white man's government. The Land Office surveyed and sold these parcels, usually at auction, and took in significant amounts of money. The buyers were then free to exploit the lumber, minerals, and farmland.
  • "Fa la la la la" - again with the Deck the Halls references. Sheesh.

Chapter 35:

  • "Huey, Dewey, and Louie" - The three mischievous nephews of Donald Duck.
  • "above the fruited plain" - A line from "America the Beautiful," a very patriotic song about the USA for which the lyrics were written by Katharine Lee Bates in 1893 (and revised by her in 1904 and 1913.) The music is from a song called "Materna" written by Samuel A. Ward in 1882. See Lyrics

Chapter 37:

  • "Hair of the dog that bit you" - A paraphrasing from John Heywood's Proverbs [1546] Part 1, Chapter 11: "A hair of the dog that bit us." As a footnote to this entry in Bartlett's, I found this: "Old receipt books advised that an inebriate should drink sparingly in the morning some of the same kind of liquor which he had drunk to excess the night before." Hence the reference to booze that went along with her using the above quote.

Chapter 39:

  • "Hound’s reach must exceed its grasp" - a play on Robert Browning’s Andrea del Sarto [1855], line 97: "A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, else what’s a heaven for?" See Oft Quoted.
  • "Here’s looking at you, kid" - See Oft Quoted.

Meanwhile, in the Spenser UniverseEdit

  • Susan is serving as technical consultant for Fifty Minutes, which is about a psychologist. Seems Susan has a thing for the performing arts (further evidence of this is shown in Walking Shadow, where she serves on the board for a theater company.
  • Spenser and Susan still have the cabin Spenser built up in Maine with Paul (cf. Early Autumn), as Spenser takes Jill there after the ordeal.
  • Spenser still blames himself for the death of Candy Sloan (cf. A Savage Place).
  • Spenser's "Broo List": Thanks to John Pitre for this one.
    • Chapter 14: Sam Adams, at the Quiet Bar at the Charles.
    • Chapter 21: Corona beer (hold the lime), in San Diego (at a place near the hotel).
  • Quirk's psychotic side pops up again, when he is trying (unsuccessfully) to keep a lid on Marty Riggs after Jill disappears. Someone chain that lieutenant to a telephone pole before he goes ballistic!
  • The building where Linda Thomas used to work (across the way from Spenser's office) has now been torn down. Not sure what went there in its place. To quote Spenser in *Chapter 31: "I used to watch her through the window, bent over her art board, then she'd been in my life, then she'd been gone. She was still gone, and now the building was gone. Sic transit the whole caboodle."
  • Paul Giacomin is now a professional dancer "in Aix-en-Provence, in France, performing and giving master's classes at some dance festival," to quote Spenser in Chapter 38. Seems he's got his life together (as we learn in Pastime, that's not entirely true, but he's pretty close).

Favorite QuotesEdit

Chapter 1: How to piss off a network executive in five easy lessons

"'How come your scarf's so long?' I said. Susan put her hand on my arm.
Riggs turned and looked at me. 'What?' he said.
'Your scarf,' I said, 'is dangerously long. You might step on it and strangle yourself.'
Susan dug her fingers into my arm.
'What the fuck are you talking about?' Riggs said.
'Your scarf. I may have to make a citizen's arrest here, your scarf is a safety hazard.'
Riggs looked at Nogarian and Salzman. 'Who the fuck is this guy, Milo?'
Nogarian looked as if he'd eaten something awful. Salzman seemed to be struggling with laughter. Susan's grip on my arm was so hard now that if I weren't tougher than six roofing nails it might have hurt.
'Looks dandy though,' I said."

Chapter 1: And now, the motives for pissing off a network executive (this one's easier, only one lesson needed)

"'Why'd you lean on him?' Nogarian said.
'He seemed something of a dork,' I said.
Salzman laughed again. 'You start leaning on every dork in the television business, you're going to be a busy man.'
'So many dorks,' I said, 'so little time.'"

Chapter 2: You mean they show something else on TV between baseball games?

"'So what do you know about the deal here,' Saltzman said when we were seated.
'I know Susan's working for you as a technical adviser on this show, which is about a woman shrink and her husband is a cop.'
'Right,' Saltzman said. 'You seen the show?'
'No,' I said.
'Premise is ridiculous,' Susan said.
'Right,' I said. 'How could a sophisticated psychotherapist fall for the kind of semi-thug that gets to be a cop?'
'Semi?' Susan said."

Chapter 2: God bless the chain of command

"'Who would I be working for technically?' I said.
'Michael J. Maschio,' Sandy said.
'Who is?'
'President of Zenith Meridien Television, a subsidy of Zenith Meridien Film Corporation.'
'Not Riggs,' I said.
'Hell, no, when Mike Maschio says "green," Marty Riggs says, "and a deep dark green it is, sir."'"

Chapter 2: Isn't that kind of like calling a great dane 'Tiny?'

"'What shall I call you,' she said.
'Cuddles,' I said. 'Most of my closest friend call me that.'
'Yes,' I said.
'You seem to have awfully big shoulders for Cuddles.'"

Chapter 5: Didn't he later go on to make a string of action movies?

"She held out her hand to the guy, whose face ran the gamut of emotions from A to B."

Chapter 5: Spenser, film critic

"'What do you think?' Salzman said.
'I think you're hiring me for the wrong job,' I said. 'I think you should hire me to go beat up the writers.'
Salzman shrugged. 'Hard cranking out a script a week,' he said.
'Obviously,' I said."

Chapter 9: I'm not sure I want to know what that promise is

"At 6:10 the winter morning was as bright as a hooker's promise and warmer than her heart."

Chapter 10: I paid for it, I'm going to get my moneys worth, dammit

"Route 128 was clear of snow, and the exits were fully plowed and clear. I didn't even need to put the jeep in four-wheel drive. I rarely needed to put it in four-wheel drive. Sometimes I went out and drove around in snowstorms just to justify it."

Chapter 10: Yes, but is it art?

"Around a turn was Rojack's house. It was one of those places that an architect had been given a free hand with, and too much money. He had decided that he could make a totally postmodern statement without violating the traditional forms implicit in the setting. The place looked like it had been designed by Georges Braque while drunk. It was slabs and angles and cubes and slants in fieldstone and brick and glass and timber, and it flaunted itself against the pastured landscape in self-satisfied excess."

Chapter 11: Smith-te and Wesson-do

"He dismounted with a somersault and launched an all-out karate attack on the heavy bag, spinning in midair to kick it, whirling balletically to drive home an elbow or a sharp-knuckled fist...For the coup de grace he leaped into the air, scissor-kicked the bag with both feet and went into a backward somersault as he landed on his back, rolling to his feet in one continuous motion.
'That kind of thing happen to you often?' I said.
Rojack said, 'We both felt it important that you understand about Randall, that you recognize clearly that this morning was merely a very lucky misjudgment on Randall's part...lucky, that is, for you.'
Randall was so thrilled by his performance that his face was fluorescent with excitement.
'Is he going to do anything else?' I said. 'Juggle four steak knives while whistling "Malaguena"? Something like that?'
Randall's breath was still coming a little short. 'You like us...what you...can do on the bag?'
I looked at Rojack.
'Be my guest,' he said. I think the sound in his voice was mockery.
'Go ahead...big shot,' Randall said.
I shrugged, reached under my left shoulder, pulled my gun and put a bullet into the middle of the body bag. The sound of the shot was shockingly loud in the silent gym. The body bag jumped. I put the gun back under my arm, smiled in a friendly way at Rojack and Randall, and walked out. As I headed through the house to the front door, the smell of the pistol shot lingered gently after me."
[sorry that was so long, but I just love that...object lesson. It's priceless. -ed]

Chapter 14: Let the hunt begin

"'Did Spenser tell you what I've been looking for ever since I got to Boston?' She put an h in Boston.

'A noble black savage,' Hawk said.
Jill shook her head. She was implacable. She probably didn't listen to what I said or Hawk said or the byplay between us.
'I want something about this long,' she said and made her two-foot measuring gesture again.
Hawk examined the distance between her hands seriously, then nodded thoughtfully.
'Could send over my little brother,' he said."

Chapter 16: Sticks chic

"Waymark was in the Berkshire Hills, maybe two hours and twenty minutes west of Boston. There was a high gloss of rustic chic in the Berkshires, Tanglewood, Stockbridge, Williamstown Theater Festival; and there enclaves of rural poverty where the official town mascot was probably a rat. Waymark was one of these."

Chapter 20: Who says animals are idiots?

"There was a man walking his dog on the mall. The dog was a pointer of some kind and kept shying against the man's knee as the snow fluttered about her. Every few steps she would look up at the man as if questioning the sense of a walk in these conditions."

Chapter 26: The furry rat from hell

"A fat woman with extensive make-up came in carrying an animal that looked like a fluffy rat....She spoke inaudibly to one of the switchboard operators, then took up a seat with the fluffy rat on her lap, and gazed at the room before her the way Marie Antoinette must have gazed at the crowds in Paris. The small white animal wiggled out of her lap and waded through the pale green carpet and stood in front of me and began to yap. It was a persistent high yap that had the same metronomic quality that the ladies of the switchboard displayed.
'Oh, Beenie,' the fat blonde said, 'stop that noise right now.'
Beenie paid her no heed at all.
'He won't hurt you,' the blonde said.
'That's for sure,' I said.
The blonde looked startled. 'Well, he won't. He's usually very good with strangers.'
The yaps continued. It was a piercing sound. Even the two switchboard receptionists turned glazed eyes toward the sound.
'What kind of rat is this?' I said politely.
'Rat?' The blonde's voice went up an octave in the middle. Not easy to do in a one-syllable word.
'Oh, I'm sorry,' I said. 'Of course he's not a rat. Guinea pig maybe?'"

Chapter 29: How to threaten a network executive (lots of fun)

"'Miss Joyce then insisted that Hawk make love to her. He declined, courteously he says.' Again, Quirk looked at me. I didn't say anything. 'She was starting to disrobe,' Quirk said.
'In front of the goddamned buck nigger?' Riggs said.
'His name's Hawk,' I said.
'Well, what are we, touchy?'
'Call him Hawk,' I said.
'I'll call him what I goddamned please,' Riggs said. 'I've got more to take up with you later.'
'Call him Hawk,' I said, 'or I will bounce your ass down two flights of stairs and out onto Berkeley Street.'
'You heard that, Lieutenant? You heard him threaten me.'
'Call him Hawk,' Quirk said."
[nyaa nyaa -ed]

Chapter 30: As long as they have their priorities straight

"'Most broads want to fuck me for the usual reasons,' Hawk said. 'Cause I'm handsome, manly, and slicker than goose shit.'"

Chapter 30: Can we say, "out of his league?"

"'Bad man?'
'He'd take Joe Broz with a Q-tip.'
'Hell,' Hawk said, 'we can do that.'"

Chapter 32: Veni, vidi, vermicelli

"'Is tortellini better than sex?' she said.
'Not in your case,' I said. 'If you eat only one at a time of tortellini, are you eating a tortellenum?'
'You'll have to ask an Italian,' Susan said. 'I can barely conjugate goyim.'"

Chapter 34: They do wander off it you're not careful

"I swiveled my chair so I could put my feet on the window sill and gaze out at the unoccupied air space where Linda Thomas had once worked. Beyond it was a building that looked like an old Philco radio. A Philip Johnson building, they said. I raised my glass to it.
'Way to go, Phil,' I said. Lucky I hadn't been assigned to guard it. Probably lose it. Was right there when I left."

Chapter 35: Pets need love, too

"'Jewish American Princesses,' Susan was saying, 'particularly those with advanced academic degrees, do not baby-sit dogs.'
I looked at Hawk.
'That is even more true,' he said, 'of African American Princes.'
The three mongrels, tethered by clothesline, sat in their pre-ordered circle, tongues lolling, eyes fixed on each morsel of croissant as it made its trip from paper plate to palate.
'Can you imagine them tearing around my place,' Susan said, 'with all the geegaws and froufrous I have in there, getting hair, yuk, on my white rug?'
'Put 'em in a kennel,' Hawk said, 'until my friend in Bridgewater gets back.'
'I don't know if they should go in a kennel,' Susan said. 'They've had some pretty bad disruptions in the last few days already.'
Hawk shrugged. He looked at the dogs again.
'Huey, Duey, and Louie,' he said.
'Well,' Susan said, 'I could come over to your place and stay with them at night. But during the day, I have patients.'
I nodded. We both looked at Hawk.
Hawk looked at the dogs.
They stared back at him.
'What happens during the day?' Hawk said.
'They need to be walked.'
'How often?'
'Three, four times,' I said.
'Every day?'
Hawk looked at me. He looked at Susan and then back at the dogs.
'Shit,' he said.
'That's a part of it,' I said.
'I meant shit, as in oh shit!' Hawk said.
'You and Susan can work it out in detail between you two,' I said. 'My plane leaves in an hour.'
Hawk was looking at me with a gaze that one less optimistic than I might interpret as hatred. I patted the dogs. Susan stood and we hugged and I kissed her. Hawk was still gazing at me. I put my hand out, palm up. He slapped it lightly.
'Thanks, bro,' I said.
'Honkies suck,' he said.
I took a cab to the airport. The plain took off on time, and I flew high above the fruited plain for six hours, cheered by the image of Hawk walking the dogs."
[That has got to be a record for longest quote in the novel guide. But to cut any of it out would have detracted from the whole thing, so you'll have to forgive me. If you don't want to forgive me, then the hell with ya... Fortunately it's the last one. -ed]


  • Chapter 2: A little turkey from the craft services table.
  • Chapter 4: Crab tacos and empinadas at the bar in Biba's.
  • Chapter 20: Duck breast sliced on the diagonal and served rare, onion marmalade, brown rice, broccoli tossed with a spoonful of sesame tahini. At least that's what he describes as being on the menu at his house. They decide to boff first and the chapter ends.
  • Chapter 21: Fresh salmon broiled over alder logs at an unnamed restaurant near the hotel in San Diego. "It wasn't as good as I hoped it would be; it still tasted like fish."
  • Chapter 32: Tortellini at Toscano Restaurant.
  • Chapter 38: Turkey hash with corn bread and a dab of cranberry ketchup at the cabin in Maine.
  • Chapter 39: Planning supper at the cabin. Grilled chicken, succotash and hot biscuits with honey, and some cole slaw made without mayo.


  • Chapter 4: Brandy and soda at Biba's.
  • Chapter 8: Beer in the Quiet Bar at the Charles Hotel.
  • Chapter 12: Club soda in the bar at the Four Seasons.
  • Chapter 15: Sam Adams in the Quiet Bar.
  • Chapter 20: Vodka martinis at his apartment with Susan.
  • Chapter 21: A couple of bottles of Corona (hold the lime) at the unnamed restaurant in San Diego.
  • Chapter 32: White wine with lunch at Toscano.
  • Chapter 34: Some Glen Fiddich at the office, a gift from Rachel Wallace a year before.
  • Chapter 36: Scotch and soda, lots of ice. Chollo makes it for him.


  • In an interesting bit of trivia, the name of the president of the television company that owns the story's fictional show Fifty Minutes, Michael J. Maschio, is also the name of the actual executive producer of the Boston unit of Spenser: For Hire, the TV series. And in the third season of the TV series, Mike Maschio is the executive producer, period. Way to go, Mike. Coincidence? I think not.
  • The next novel after this is Pastime where Parker introduces Pearl, the wonder dog. Contributor Simone Hochreiter notes the two following scenes:
  • Chapter 20: Spenser notices a man walking "a pointer of some kind." On being out in the falling snow, "she would look up at the man as if questioning the sense of a walk in these conditions." Is Spenser watching RBP and his pooch?
  • Chapter 35: A bit of a contradiction: Susan wouldn't think of caring for Wilfred Pomeroys dogs. "Can you imagine them tearing around my place...with all the geegaws and froufrous I have in there, getting hair, yuk, on my white rug?" By the next book Paul Giacomin notices the Pearl is allowed to climb onto a white satin armchair he was once kicked off of. "'Well, she likes it,' Susan said."
  • Show me the money: He has got to get clients like this more often. A nice daily wage, first class airfare, decent hotels.

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