The Godwulf Manuscript  
The Godwulf Manuscript cover
Series Spenser
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date 1973
Media type hardcover
ISBN 1-56849-317-7
Followed by God Save the Child

Cover Information Edit

"This, like everything else, is for Joan, David, and Daniel"

Taken from the inside jacket flap of the Early Spenser compilation

In The Godwulf Manuscript, Spenser is hired by a Boston university to recover a stolen rare manuscript. The police suspect a pretty blond student, but Spenser isn't ready for easy answers - especially when a radical student who can provide his only lead is murdered. The Los Angeles Times said The Godwulf Manuscript was "a book to be thankful for... if one is permitted to think that this is the first of a series."

Taken from the back cover of the Dell paperback

Spenser had earned his degree in the school of hard knocks, so he was ready when a Boston university hired him to recover a rare, stolen manuscript, and hardly surprised that his only clue was a radical student with four bullets in his chest. The cops were ready to throw the book at the pretty blond coed whose prints were all over the murder weapon, but Spenser wasn't there for easy answers. The lovely lady offered a cram course in campus love--but first there was the question of who had splashed blood on the ivory tower, some very heavy-hitting homework, and the grim possibility that, if he didn't finish his assignment soon, he could end up marked D--for dead.

Taken from the Houghton Mifflin 1st Edition (courtesy of Marcus Preedy)

THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT introduces the most attractive and resourceful private investigator since Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe and proves that crime in Boston can be quite as lively and sinister as crime in Los Angeles. 
When Spenser is hired to recover a fourteenth-century manuscript stolen from the university library, his investigation s lead him to the Student Committee Against Capitalist Exploitation and to its secretary, Terry Orchard.  Terry, living in a state of chronic rebellion against convention and her rich and prominent parents, will cooperate with no one representing the establishment.  But when her boy friend is killed and she is framed for his murder, she calls Spenser. 
Spenser’s determination to clear Terry brings him into conflict with the Boston Police – who want no interference from an insolent private eye, with the university that hired him but wants no part of a murder case, and with the Mafia.  In the face of two more murders and attempts, first to frighten and then to kill him, Spenser persists, until all the truths are told.

Taken from the copyright page even to this day:

"A portion of this book appeared in the October 1973 issue of Argosy."

[Well no, it didn't.  After years of fruitless research on my part I was finally contacted by Don Wells who sent me a copy of the January 1974 issue where it appeared.  It was edited down to about 12 magazine pages and a lot of subplots are gone but it's actually a good read.]

Recurring Characters Edit

Actually, it should be called First Appearances in this case. We meet:

  • Spenser (of course).
  • Lt. Martin Quirk.
  • Sgt. Frank Belson.
  • Joe Broz, a crime boss.
  • Brenda Loring, a possible love (or lust) interest (we'll see her again in Mortal Stakes).
  • Vince Haller, attorney.

Unanswered Questions Edit

  • Chapter 12: "She let the smoke slip slowly out of her nose as she sipped her drink, holding the glass in both hands. The smoke spread out on the surface of the bourbon and eddied gently back up around her face. I felt my stomach tighten; I had known someone a long time ago who used to do just that, in just that way." [Who??] An interesting peek into Parker's real life.  In the fourteenth book, Pale Kings and Princes, he includes the following in ch.2: "Rita drank some Scotch while exhaling smoke and the squat glass of amber liquid looked like a small witch's cauldron when she put it down, with the smoke drifting off the surface of the Scotch."

Literary References, or "The Annotated Gumshoe" Edit

Chapter 1:

  • "Win this one for the Gipper" - Knute Rockne. A similar form was used in the screenplay for Knute Rockne--All American [1940]: "win just one for the Gipper!" (spoken by Pat O'Brian about George Gipp, played by Ronald Reagan)
  • "The Newman club" - Yeah, Tower may not watch this group too closely.  According to one site I visited: "Newman Club is the extension of the Roman Catholic Church to the university campus. It offers to all the unity of faith, worship and life of the Roman Catholic Church ordered to the kingdom of God. Offerings include weekly holy sacrifice of the mass, instructions in the truths of the Catholic faith, Bible studies, service projects, retreats, and social activities. Open to all."
  • "A Borsalino hat" - According to "Many consider Italy's Borsalino Hat Company the finest hat maker in the world. In business since 1857, the name Borsalino is synonymous with a fedora style hat that is associated with elegance and style that is purely Southern European." Dennis Tallett further notes that: "The Borsalino classic felt hat was designed by Giuseppe Borsalino (1834-1900) in the family business in Alessandria, northern Italy." The hat made Borsalino famous. The Italian made "Como" is 100% rain resistant fur felt. It has a 2 5/8" stitched brim and 4 1/2" crown. This is THE classic fedora. Available in Black only."

Chapter 2:

  • "I'll break both your thumbs and you'll never play pool again." - Dennis  Tallett brought this nugget to light: "The pool hall movie The Hustler (1961) with Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason based on the novel by Walter Tevis where thumbs actually get broken in chapter 14."
  • "the nature of the beast" - The closest I could find was in William Snodgrass's Orpheus [1959]: "It was the nature of the thing: / No moon outlives its leaving night, / No sun its day." Ronald van Raaij wrote in to point out the classic story of the scorpion and the fox: "A fox who agrees to carry a scorpion on its back across a river, upon the condition that the scorpion does not sting him. But the scorpion does indeed sting the fox when they are in midstream. As the fox begins to drown, taking the scorpion with him, he pleadingly asks why the scorpion has jeopardized both of them by stinging. 'Because it's my nature.'" Adele Connelly wrote in with something closer to Parker's usual sources: "I think that this phrase, "the nature of the beast" should be attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson.  The full quotation and attribution are below and I believe is the source of Parker's quote.  Just a thought." QUOTATION: A mob is a society of bodies voluntarily bereaving themselves of reason, and traversing its work. The mob is man voluntarily descending to the nature of the beast. ATTRIBUTION: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), U.S. essayist, poet, philosopher. "Compensation," Essays, First Series (1841, repr. 1847).
  • "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty" - See Oft Quoted

Chapter 3:

  • "I was living that year on Marlborough Street, two blocks up from the Public Garden." - Contributor Peter Higgins notes the following: "I believe that recalls the first sentence in the second section of Chapter 1 of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye: "I was living that year in a house on Yucca Avenue, in the Laurel Canyon district."  I once read an interview with RBP wherein he stated that in his early books, before he found his own "voice," he consciously imitated the styles of the "masters"--Chandler and Hammett--and I think the early Spensers are indeed full of tantalizing echoes like the one mentioned above." A point well taken.  Parker wrote this novel just three years after earning his PhD in English literature, based in part on his dissertation "The Violent Hero, Wilderness Heritage and Urban Reality: a Study of the Private Eye in the Novels of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald."  It's rather dry and academic (not an insult in my opinion) and it does show where he came from.
  • "bronze statue of an Indian on horseback that stands in front of the Museum of Fine Arts." - That

    Appeal to the Great Spirit

    would be "The Appeal to the Great Spirit," cast by Cyrus Edward Dallin in 1908 and donated to the museum in 1913.

Chapter 6:

  • "Hawkshaw" - Iain Campbell notes that you don't hear this name much anymore.  It comes from Tom Taylor's play The Ticket of Leave Man (1863), which focuses on an ex-con (convicts were given a "ticket of leave" when they left prison in Victorian England) who is trying to go straight, but who is blackmailed by a gang of crooks into helping them out with a robbery. The play was immensely popular in its day, and its basic situation has been much reused ever since, being sure to turn up on TV at least once a month. There is a detective, Hawkshaw, whose name passed down into gumshoe history. It's a splashy role in which a macho actor can still make a showing.

Chapter 7:

  • "House Beautiful" - Iain Campbell helps me to remember that these books have an international audience who may be unfamiliar with American culture, and writes: "I have discovered that House Beautiful is the name of a well known decorator style glossy coffee-table magazine.  Other outsiders may not know this." He also found it mentioned at the end of Chapter 22.
  • "Herbert Marcuse" - A Freudian neo-marxist philosopher who would often speak at revolutionary campus gatherings in the 1960s. Because of his willingness to speak at student protests, Herbert soon became known as "the father of the new left."
  • "Sacco and Vanzetti"- In 1920 a paymaster and his guard were murdered during a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts.  A month later two Italians, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were arrested and charged with the crime.  They were immigrants and anarchists, and the common opinion  nowadays is that the trial was the product of anti-radical hysteria and political persecution, but they were executed in 1927. 
  • "All the news that's fit to print" - Seen on the masthead of The New York Times. First appeared on February 10th, 1897.
  • "Freedom of the press is a flaming sword. Use it wisely, hold it high, guard it well." - Steve Wilson, of The Illustrated Press. I believe the original quote is "use it justly," but Parker was no doubt working from memory. It refers to the radio show "Big Town" which aired from 1937 to 1951. Edward G. Robinson (one of my favorite movie wise-guys) voiced the part of Steve Wilson, crusading editor of the Illustrated Press.  Parker also used this line in A Savage Place.

Chapter 8:

  • "No mash notes from Helen Gurley Brown." - Jenn Montes de Oca sent in a wonderful entry for this one: "Mash notes are letters of attraction or desire from a stranger or acquaintance and will mostly likely not be welcome, there is a long sordid history to this that I won't bore you with unless you ask. Helen Gurley Brown, however, became editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine in 1965 and re-established the failing magazine. She wrote a lot of columns and  correspondence in her time. She is a self proclaimed feminist with a "passive interest in the relationship of men and women". Ironically, in 2004, Brown came out with a book called "Dear Pussycat: Mash Notes and Missives from the desk of Cosmopolitans Legendary Editor." Ms. Brown first came to fame for her 1962 book "Sex and the Single Girl."  By the time this novel was written her name was a household word but apparently she was not sending notes to a small-time Boston gumshoe.  Her loss, obviously.
  • "Visions of the day's first bloody mary dancing in their heads." - A reference to A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Moore, although the tykes were thinking of sugarplums - hold the celery stalk. See Poetry.
  • "He closed his eyes in holy dread." - Bill Tobin notes that this is from Kubla Khan by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. "And close your eyes with holy dread,/For he on honey-dew hath fed,/And drunk the milk of Paradise..." are the last lines Sammy managed to copy down before a "person on business from Porlock" knocked the drug dream out of his head." See Poetry.
  • "An ankle-length o.d. military overcoat." - Obviously bought second-hand.  O.d. stands for Olive Drab (and interesting turn of phrase) which is a somewhat darkish green favored by military types.  My guess is was designed to blend in with yer average European background flora.
  • "Somewhere nearby I could hear the rhythm of a mimeograph." - Gather 'round kids, while your Uncle Bob remembers ye olden days.  Long before copying machines were cheap and plentiful, if you wanted to make a bunch of copies you would type out the original on special paper and attach it to the cylinder of this device and crank the handle.  The ink had a most interesting smell, which I have been told came from an alcohol base. 
  • "My collection of Ann Sheridan pinups" - Known as the "Oomph girl" she was a very popular pinup indeed in the 1940's.  Here's my collection.
  • "whether he said solid or sullied" - A reference to a debate concerning the soliloquy spoken in William Shakespeare's Hamlet [1600-1601], Act I, Scene 2, line 129: "O! that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw and resolve itself into a dew;" Other spellings include "sallied" and "sullied." I've always gone with the "solid" spelling, myself...

Chapter 11:

  • Sleigh bells ring, are ya listening" - from the Christmas Carol "Winter Wonderland." Written by Dick Smith and Felix Bernard.  See Lyrics.
  • "We never sleep." Original motto of the Pinkerton detective agency. See Oft Quoted.
  • "Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson." - Paul Simon, Mrs. Robinson. See Lyrics.
  • Mourning Becomes Electra - title of a dramatic trilogy written by Eugene O'Neill [1931].

Chapter 12:

  • "You can run, but you can't hide." - See Oft Quoted.

Chapter 13:

  • "There was a Frost poem, but it was about birches" - That would be Robert Frost, and the title of the poem is Birches [1916].
  • Where are the white bucks of yesteryear." - Iain Campbell wrote to clue me in on this one and we spent most of a week discussing it.  It divides itself into two parts:
  • "Where are the snows of yesteryear." Iain says: "The quote is clearly the extremely well-known (among francophones anyway!): 'Ou sont les neiges d'antan?' a haunting, regretful last line in each stanza of Des dames du temps jadis by Francois Villon (1431-1485).  It has been used in many popular songs and ballads since then." In a following letter he pointed out that it was written in medieval French and the versions he pointed me to as translations into modern French differed quite a bit, and translating it into English was a bit of a problem. "Frankly, I think that few other then French scholars will appreciate (or even understand) the original.  Rather like Chaucer... This poem is familiar to anyone who has studied the poetry of the Middle Ages, as has RBP."
  • "White bucks" - one of the most commonly sported styles of shoes amongst the younger

    White bucks.

    crowd during the mid-twentieth century. An interesting note; since they're suede, bucks aren't polished, they're powdered, with a special "chalk bag" or "buck bag", which is a small cheesecloth bag full of powdered talc (kind of like a rosin bag in baseball, if that conjures up any image for you), which is dusted over the shoes when they become scuffed.
  • "It was the widely acclaimed Adolf Eichmann who popularized that 'I obey orders' routine, wasn't it?" - Refers to the Nuremberg Trials that took place after World War II, where the German officers were called to stand trial for their crimes against the Jewish people. Eichmann was one of many officers who, to answer why he did what he did, claimed that he was only following orders. It wasn't considered an acceptable answer: "You are responsible for what you do," was the main argument of the prosecution. (Thanks to my memories of 6th grade history class for most of this). [Actually Mike remembered wrong. It was decided before the Nuremberg trials that the "following orders" defense would not be allowed. But Eichman wasn't there. He escaped to Argentina shortly after the war and hid there until 1960, when the Israeli army caught up with him.  He was kidnapped and flown to Israel for a trial.  There he was allowed to use that defense, which was rejected.]

Chapter 14:

  • Of all the outer offices in all the towns in all the world, you had to walk into mine." - Hisao Tomihari wrote in to note another one that belongs here.  Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in Casablanca: "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."  See Oft Quoted.
  • "If you want anything, just whistle" - "Hisao also supplied the correct dialogue spoken by Lauren Bacall in To Have and Have Not: "You know you don't have to act with me Steve.  You don't have to say anything and you don't have to do anything.  Not a thing.  Oh, maybe just whistle.  You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? Just put your lips together and blow."

Chapter 15:

  • "Even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course / Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot." - Glenn Everett found this reference, from the W.H. Auden poem, Musee des Beaux Arts:
About suffering they were never wrong,

The Old Masters: how well they understood/ Its human position; how it takes place/ While someone is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;/ How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting/ For the miraculous birth, there must always be/ Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating/ On a pond at the edge of the wood;/ They never forgot/ That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course/Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot/ Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer's horse/ Scratches its innocent behind on a tree. . . .

  • "Right on her head she fell, Marty." - Why are we all being so very cynical here?  Because it's straight out of The Postman always rings Twice by James M. Cain.  It's Frank and Cora's first attempt to kill the Greek.

Chapter 16:

  • "A bottle of Cope." - Cathy Connelly seems to have suffered from tension headaches, because that is what this over-the-counter medication was designed to treat.  Manufactured by the Mentholatum Co., it's 421 mg Aspirin plus 23 mg Caffeine and a host of inert ingredients.  It's hard to come by nowadays: none of the local stores carry it and I found only one online source.  To me it looks like an expensive substitute for a generic pill and a cup of coffee but what do I know about pharmacology?
  • "Abandon all hope ye who enter here" - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy [c. 1310-1321], Inferno, Canto III, line 9: "Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch'entrate." : "All hope abandon, ye who enter here!"

Chapter 17:

Chapter 19:

  • I was at the south end of the corridor getting a drink from the bubbler." - Fellow southern New Englander George Waller wrote in to remind me that you outsiders probably got the reference but would refer to it as a drinking fountain.  To get an idea of the local dialect, consider this sentence: "I'm wicked thirsty, let me get some watta from the bubbla."
  • The Play of the Weather - Dennis Tallett writes "this was by John Heywood (1497?-1550?), the first writer of English comedy. He wrote this in the early 1500s and it tells how Jupiter becoming worried about human complaints regarding the weather. He sends down an investigator to provide him with a report. The results are so varied he decides to leave well alone."
  • Gammer Gurton's Needle - Susan Demers writes "It is one of two (the other being Ralph Roiser Doister) collegiate dramas which bridge the gap between Roman comedy with its stock characters drawn from everyday life and medieval plays which were primarily religious (even the comedies.....Noah's wife was a nag, poor dear.). GGN was ascribed to Mr. S and performed at Cambridge between 1552 and 1563. (Brockett, History of the Theatre) (This kind of title is what drama majors use to win at charades.)" Dennis Tallett adds "This is the earliest of English comedies in verse and songs. It portrays 16th century village life and tells the story of a lost needle as the gammer (old wife) is sewing a servant's trousers which he finds later when he puts them on. Listed as a farce by a Mr. S. - probably William Stevenson. First performance 1553 or 1554.
  • "He had not had a visit from...the Ghost of Christmas Future" - A reference to one of the three Ghosts of Christmas from Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol [1843], stave 4. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come showed Scrooge his a graveyard, causing Scrooge to repent his miserliness and general humbuggery. In many plays/movies, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is represented by a skeleton in a black robe, perhaps the personification of Death. Cheerful thought, isn't it?
  • "The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi" - Click here for the history of the song. See Lyrics.
  • "I half expected Beowulf to jump out of the bog and rip the arm off of something." - In the legends, Beowulf bested the monster Grendel by tearing one of his arms off. Gee, the legends are so pleasant, aren't they?
  • "'My God, Holmes, these are the footprints of a gigantic hound.'" - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles [1902], Chapter 2: "They were the footprints of a gigantic hound!"
  • " the fresh of morning..."-I found this one in The Sea and the Jungle by H. M. Tomlinson, Chapter 5. Then again it's also in A Child's Book of Saints by William Canton (it doesn't work well in context for this citing, but it's there) so the phrase may be more common than I am aware of. Has anyone else come across this?

Chapter 21:

  • "...I've got stuff to do and promises to keep." - Robert Frost, Stopping in the Woods on a Snowy Evening. Likewise, Spenser has miles to go before he sleeps. See Oft Quoted and Poetry.

Chapter 23:

  • "Ronald Colman, Major Andre, Nathan Hale, the Christian martyrs." - All willing to face death for their beliefs.  Let's take them in order:
  • Ronald Colman: A British actor who starred in a large number of films as the square-jawed, stiff-upper-lip, ever so proper hero. If he shot down your biplane in WWI he would salute you out of respect as you spiraled down.
  • Major Andre: Most Americans remember Benedict Arnold, the famous traitor of the Revolutionary War who tried to betray our side by selling the plans of the base at West Point. Major Andre was the British officer who was caught with a pass from Arnold in his pocket and the plans for West Point hidden in his boot. He was hanged in 1780, but his body was exhumed in 1821 and reburied in the Hero's Corner of Westminster Abbey.
  • Nathan Hale: A First Lieutenant in the Seventh Connecticut regiment, he is remembered as a hero of the above mentioned American revolution, and was hanged as a spy by the British on September 22, 1775. His last words constitute one of the best known phrases of patriotism ever uttered:  "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
  • The Christian martyrs: (aka the Marian Martyrs) were 300 protestants burned at the stake in 1555 when Catholic Mary, daughter of Protestant Henry VIII, became queen.
  • "I am the movement" - see Chapter 25 below.
  • "listening to the sound of a different drummer" - see Oft Quoted.

Chapter 24:

  • Alice in Wonderland - A common way of referring to Lewis Carroll's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland [1865].
  • semper fidelis - Latin for "always faithful" - the motto of the United States Marine Corps.

Chapter 25:

  • "truth, justice, and the American way" - Wasn't that what Superman was fighting for?
  • "It only hurts when I laugh." - Dennis Tallett writes: "The title of Stan Freeberg's autobio. Satirist, humorist performing on records, radio, TV in the 1960s. Now his company produces humorous commercials." For his title Mr. Freeberg picked the punch line of a very old joke. The most common variation I found online was this one:
  • A wagon train of settlers was heading west. When they came over a hill they saw a ranch that had just been attacked by Indians. The rancher was propped up against the cabin wall with an arrow sticking out of his chest. He was still alive and told a terrible tale of woe. His son had been castrated and left to bleed to death. His wife and daughter had been raped repeatedly and taken with the tribe to serve as sex slaves. All of his horses had been stolen and his herd of cattle slaughtered. While giving him a drink of water, one of the settlers expressed concern that the arrow must be causing him lots of pain. "Not really," the rancher said, "it only hurts when I laugh."
  • Le mouvement, c'est moi - French, "I am the movement." Paraphrase of a famous statement by King Louis XIV who, commenting on the extent of his power, said "L'etat, c'est moi" (I am the State).
  • "[I had] a lover's quarrel with the world" - Robert Frost, The Lesson for Today [1942]."  In the poem Frost is having a thought conversation with John Donne (1572-1631) who was the leader of the Metaphysical School of poetry in the Renaissance.  Donne wore a ring with a skull and crossbones on it to remind him of his mortality, a "Memento Mori" or "remembrance of death" as it was referred to.  Frost notes in contrast that he would have the above on his tombstone.  Interestingly, it wasn't just the punchline to a poem, he actually did have it carved there.
  • "Excelsior" - Ex*cel"si*or, a. [L., compar. of excelsus elevated, lofty, p. p. of excellere.] More lofty; still higher; ever upward.  Besides being the motto of New York state it is the title of a famous poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. See Poetry.

Meanwhile, in the Spenser Universe Edit

As this is the first Spenser novel, a lot of things are slightly off-kilter, and different than what we're used to. For example:

  • Spenser seems to have a thing for multiple lovers in this story. While we all acknowledge the fact that he's quite a randy fellow, he usually exercises a bit more caution. Must be mellowing with age or something.
  • Spenser smokes a cigar at one point. He mentions in later novels that he quit smoking in the 60's, but apparently a cigar every now and then is OK.
  • In this first book Spenser is 37 years old, weighs 195 lbs, and stands 6' 1" tall. He likes to work out at the Boston Y.M.C.A.
  • His office is on Stuart Street, in what used to be the Combat Zone, the designated Adult Entertainment district which is almost completely gone now. I'm only familiar with the end that joins Kneeland Street in the theater district, but most of the area is fairly new and a far cry from what it was in the early 70's.
  • Where is this unnamed University?  From the descriptions, Jacob Sconyers is pretty sure it's Northeastern.
  • And to add to the above, a similar crime happened in the same area thirty years later. See Life Imitates Art (thanks to Spenser buff and former Boston Herald reporter Doug Hanchett for sending a copy of his article.) 

Favorite Lines Edit

Chapter 1: Spenser, fashion patrol

"Tower's door opened and a post-coed blond in high white boots came in. She was wearing something in purple suede that was too short for a skirt and too long for a belt."

Chapter 2: Another way to stick it to the man...

"'Miss Orchard, look at it this way, you get a free lunch and half a million laughs talking to the gang back at the malt shop. I get a chance to ask some questions, and if you answer them I'll let you play with my handcuffs. If you don't answer them, you still get the lunch. Who else has been out with a private eye lately?'
'A pig is still a pig,' she said, 'whether public or private, he works for the same people.'
'Next time you're in trouble,' I said, 'call a hippie.'
'Oh, crap, you know damn well...'
I stopped her. 'I know damn well that it would be easier to argue over lunch. My fingernails are clean and I promise to use silverware. I'm paying with establishment expense money. It's a chance to exploit them.'"

Chapter 2: You're also entitled to a free toilet brush if you order today!

I reached over and took hold of his wrist. 'Listen, Goldilocks,' I said, 'I bought her a beer and you drank it. On my block that entitles you to get your upper lip fattened.'"

Chapter 3: Hup, two, three, four...

"She just kept saying sonova bitch, in a dead singsong voice, and I found that as we walked we were keeping time to the curse, left, right, sonova bitch. I realized that the broken door was still wide open and as we sonovabitched by on the next swing I kicked it shut with my heel."

Chapter 4: How to get on the good side of the Lieutenant

"'You're not working for the D.A. now, boy, you're working my side of the street, and if you get in my way I'll kick your ass right in the gutter. Got that?'
'Can I feel your muscle?' I said."

Chapter 5: I'll have a Belson, medium rare

"'Has she been read her rights?'
Belson snorted. 'Are you kidding. If she were shooting at me with a flame thrower I'd have to advise her of her rights before I shot back.'"

Chapter 6: Gosh, could I have your autograph?

"'Spenser, do you know who I am?'
'I guess you're Terry Orchard's father.'
He hadn't meant that. 'Yes,' he said. 'I am. I am also senior partner of Orchard, Bonner, and Blanch.'
'Swell,' I said. 'I buy all your records.'"

Chapter 6: Ahh, Spenser, you really got a clever repartee when dealing with the ladies

"'If I told my father to get laid he would have knocked out six of my teeth,' I said.
'Mine won't,' she said. 'He'll drink some more brandy, and tomorrow he'll stay late at the office.'
'You don't like him much,' I said.
'I bet if I said that to you, you'd knock out six of my teeth,' she said.
'Only if you didn't smile,' I answered."

Chapter 7: Ode to Mark Tabor

"He looked like a zinnia. Tall and thin with an enormous corona of rust red hair flaring out around his pale, clean-shaven face."

Chapter 10: Nah, he'd probably think it was kinky

"I could tell he was impressed with the gun in my hand. The only thing that would have scared him more would have been if I had threatened to flog him with a dandelion."

Chapter 10: Watch it, that maid's packing carbonless ticket forms...

"I stuck my head back in before I closed the back door.
'If a tough meter maid puts the arm on you, Sonny, just scream and I'll come running.'
Sonny swore at me and burned rubber away from the curb."

Chapter 11: And with very little money down, you can open a franchise

"The phone rang.
I picked it up and said 'Spenser industries, security division. We never sleep.'"

Chapter 11: Somewhere there is a slumlord's leg man who considers this an insult...

"I got a look at myself in the dark window: unshaven, sub sandwich stains on my shirt, collar open. There was a puffy mouse under one eye, courtesy of old Sonny. I looked like the leg man for a slumlord."

Chapter 13: Decent of him to lend the constabulary authorities a hand

"'Come in, Lieutenant,' I said. 'No need to knock, my door is always open to a public servant. You've come, no doubt, to ask my assistance in solving a particularly knotty puzzle...'"

Chapter 14: This could be the start of a beautiful friendship

"She said, 'May I help you?'
'Don't pull that sweet talk on me,' I said.
'I beg your pardon.'
'I know what you're thinking, and I'm sorry, but I'm on duty.'
'Of all the outer offices in all the towns in all the world,' she said, 'you had to walk into mine.'"

Chapter 15: Cheap thrills

"I said, 'I want to use your phone'
He said, 'There's a pay phone at the drugstore across the street. I ain't running no charity here.'
I said, 'There is a dead person in room thirteen, and I am going to call the police and tell them. If you say anything to me but yes, sir, I will hit you at least six times in the face.'
He said, 'Yes, sir.' Pushing an old wino around always enlivens your spirits."

Chapter 15: All part of the image

"Sergeant Belson sat on the edge of the table smoking a short cigar butt that looked like he'd stepped on it.
'Do you buy those things secondhand?' I asked.
Belson took the cigar butt out of his mouth and looked at it. 'If I smoked the big fifty cent jobs in the cedar wrappers, you'd figure I was on the take.'
'Not the way you dress,' I said."

Chapter 16: There's a down side to everything

"The trouble with being up and at 'em bright and early was once you were up most of the 'em that you wanted to be at weren't out yet."

Chapter 18: OOO, goodie! You grate the cheese, I'll dice the onions!

"'If you don't answer what I ask I'm going to pound you into an omelet.'"

Chapter 18: With the price of their cookies, you'd be doing humanity a favor...

"He didn't stop crying, and I couldn't think of anything else to say. So I left. I had a lot of information, but I had an unpleasant taste in my mouth. Maybe on the way home I could stop and rough up a Girl Scout."

Chapter 19: Glamour, thy name is Gumshoe

I sat at the end of Hayden's street with the motor idling and the heater on until nine o'clock, when I ran low on gas and had to shut off the motor. By ten fifteen I was cold. The hamburgers were long gone, though the memory lingered on the back of my throat, and I was almost through the bourbon. During that time Hayden had not come to me and confessed. He had not had a visit from Joe Broz or Phil, or the Ghost of Christmas Future. The Ceremony of Moloch had not shown up and sung 'The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi' under his window. At eleven o'clock the lights in his living room went out and I went home--stiff, sore, tired, crabby, dyspeptic, cold, and about five-eighths drunk."

Chapter 22: ...but whips and chains excite me...

"The door slammed. Persuasive, that's me. Old silver tongue. I leaned on the bell some more. Another four or five minutes and she cracked. People who can endure bamboo slivers under the fingernails begin to weaken after ten minutes of doorbell ringing."

Chapter 23: Maybe she's a freemason

"Mrs. Hayden knocked again twice and then twice more. Christ, a secret code. Made you wish Ian Fleming had taken up music or something."

Chapter 24: Yeah, but would it hold off two sex-crazed rhinoceroses?

"The gun in his hand was an Army issue .45 automatic. It fired a slug about the size of a baseball and at close range would knock down a sex-crazed rhinoceros."

Food Edit

  • Chapter 2: Corned beef sandwich on dark bread with pickles and chips at the Pub. He seems disappointed that the pickles are sweet.
  • Chapter 3: Hash and eggs for supper at home.
  • Chapter 6: A fried egg sandwich at home.
  • Chapter 7: Spenser makes Scallops Jacques from a recipe in a French cookbook a girlfriend gave him. It's "a complicated affair with cream and wine and lemon juice and shallots..."
  • Chapter 11: A submarine sandwich to go. Eating while driving is a messy affair.
  • Chapter 12: Spenser makes a Spanish omelet and eats it with thick slices of fresh pumpernickel.
  • Chapter 12: Boneless chicken breasts cooked "with wine and butter and cream and mushrooms." Salad dressed "with lime juice and mint, olive oil, honey, and wine vinegar." Also some rice and baking powder biscuits.
  • Chapter 16: Three plain donuts in a diner.
  • Chapter 18: Steak in a steak house.
  • Chapter 19: "...half a dozen hamburgers (from) McDonalds." (aaargh!) The next day he brought along "a satchel of sandwiches."
  • Chapter 21: Six fat German sausages, and rings of green apple dipped in flour and fried in the sausage fat. Two big slices of coarse rye bread with wild strawberry jam.
  • Chapter 25: A vanilla ice cream cone

Drink Edit

  • Chapter 2: Beer in the Pub with Terry Orchard.
  • Chapter 6: Some excellent brandy with Roland Orchard.
  • Chapter 7: A few cans of beer while preparing supper. A bottle of Pouilly Fuisse with the meal.
  • Chapter 10: Bourbon and water with bitters in Joe Broz's office.
  • Chapter 11: Bourbon from the office bottle. Bourbon, soda and bitters, with Marion Orchard.
  • Chapter 12: Bourbon at his place with Terry Orchard, Rhine wine with dinner, applejack afterwards.
  • Chapter 13: Bourbon in paper cups at the office when Quirk drops by.
  • Chapter 19: A pint of Wild Turkey to wash down the McDonald burgers.
  • Chapter 20: A cop gives him some Old Overholt Rye in the hospital before Quirk arrives.
  • Chapter 25: Bourbon from the bottle at home.

Notes Edit

  • What's interesting about this story is that it is very indicative of its time period, that being the early seventies. Note the comments by Terry about the "pigs," meaning the police, and the "establishment," plus Spenser's remarks about hippies.
  • In Chapter 13, there is a minor gaffe. Spenser drives to the university, and then he and Iris Milford catch a cab from the university to a restaurant for lunch, yet he somehow drives her back to the university afterward. Thanks go to Jared K. Entin for finding this one. Took me almost forever to actually get my copy of the book out and verify it, but better late than never.
  • Gabrielle Devenish noticed another gaffe in Chapter 17, an Adventure in Time and Space.  Spenser gets a call from Iris Milford at 11:30 in the morning.  He goes to the newspaper office and picks up her paper, takes it to a Xerox copy center, locks up the original in his top drawer, and put the copies in his pocket for his drive over to see Lowell Hayden.  Lowell is not in his office and his next class is on Monday so Spenser looks up the address and notices that it is now 11:10 and he can get there by lunchtime.  Nowhere is it implied that a day has passed.
  • Peter Novers supplied me with this information on two of Godwulf's main characters, initially written by Carl Hoffman for The Armchair Detective 16 (2) (Spring 1983), pages 131-143: "Joseph [Joe] Broz is given the name of the late dictator of [former] Yugoslavia, a man better known by his assumed name Tito, and radical professor Lowell Hayden's monicker is apparently a combination of the names of two well-known leftists of the 1960's, Robert Lowell and Tom Hayden."
  • In Chapter 12: "I felt odd, like my father probably had when we were small and all home in bed and he was the only one up in the house." Sounds like a traditional family, with siblings, but as we now know Dr. Parker reserved the author's right to have a better idea about Spenser's boyhood in the later novels.
  • Show me the money: Spenser is paid by both the University and Roland Orchard.
  • Those golden days of yore:
    • In Chapter 2 he leaves five dollars to cover two corned beef sandwiches and four beers plus, I assume, a decent tip.
    • In Chapter 13 getting a 2x2 picture blown up to 8x10 cost a small fortune, including twenty-five pre-inflation dollars to have it done while he waited (I had my own darkroom back then so I know how very many steps were involved.) Now many drug stores out my way have a self service machine that does the same thing digitally for a lot less money.
    • In Chapter 15 Belson noted about his choice of cigars: "If I smoked the big fifty cent jobs in the cedar wrappers, you'd figure I was on the take."
    • In Chapter 17 Spenser goes into a phone booth and looks up an address in the directory. 
    • In Chapter 21 Spenser cooks up some German sausages and then fries apple slices in the resulting fat. Of course, Cholesterol had not yet been invented so he was safe...
    • In Chapter 25 Spenser stops at a Ligget's drugstore so that Terry can purchase some supplies and there is a soda fountain down one side. I'm out here in the suburbs and the malls killed that sort of downtown thing years ago, but I don't know if it survives elsewhere.
    • While in Ligget's, Terry lights up a cigarette and continues shopping. Smoking right there in a retail store, and she is not attacked with a fire extinguisher or led off in handcuffs!

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