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The Susan question has come up before, and sometimes quite savagely. There are people who absolutely hate her and the time Parker spends away from good old fashioned knuckle-dusting and the use of firearms. But she is there and is going to remain so, for several reasons:

  1. Spenser is Robert Parker. Although Dr. Parker has chosen a somewhat less violent occupation, he has used Spenser as an outlet for his inner self. The Korean war service, the physical fitness, love of cooking, interest in literature and poetry, a dog named Pearl; they are all reflections of his life. This leads to:
  2. Susan Silverman is Joan Parker, and Joan is the most important part of Robert's life. What you read in the books is what the author actually feels. The undying love, the separation and later reconciliation, the fact that they don't live together (same house, different parts for each.) He would no sooner write her out of his novels than write her out of his life.
  3. Because he's the author and he says so. I've seen the question posted in interviews and the answer is always a gruff, one word, "No."

Susan plays a very important part in the Spenser universe. Robert Parker set out to take the hard-boiled private eye concept in a different direction than many other authors had. He aimed for a real human being, one who had feeling, doubts, moral uncertainties. Too many novels in that genre simply had a guy who "was" his work. After hours he might go home and go to bed, but the next morning followed shortly and he was back on the case.

Spenser, on the other hand, is just a guy with a job who finishes up at night and goes home to a real life, just like the rest of us. He cooks nice meals, does some exercise, settles in with a book, and has a relationship with a good woman. We are seeing not just the detecting and fighting, we are seeing the parts of his life that are of the greatest importance to him. Somehow I just couldn't see the stories told any other way.

As to those who dislike Susan for her personality, behavioral quirks, eating habits and other such minutia I can only ask: have you ever been in a real love? Does your significant other have some traits that you do not share but which are part of their personality and you are willing to respect? To the outside world they may seem imperfections, but to Spenser they are interesting details to be cherished.

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