The Widening Gyre (Spenser, #10)
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The Widening Gyre (Spenser #10)

3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  2,429 ratings  ·  91 reviews
The adoring wife of Senate candidate Meade Alexander has a smile as sweet as candy and dotted her i's with little hearts. A blond beauty, she was the perfect mate for an ambitious politician, but she had a little problem with sex and drugs--a problem someone had managed to put on videotape.
Paperback, 183 pages
Published June 1st 1992 by Dell Publishing Company (first published 1983)
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Community Reviews

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Dan Schwent
When a state representative is getting blackmailed with a film of his wife having sex with another man, he hires Spenser to get to the bottom of things for him. But when Spenser learns the man's identity, he's bitten off more than he can chew, especially with him preoccupied with Susan Silverman being out of town.

I was needing a quick read before taking on another fantasy read and The Widening Gyre fit the bill. It got the job done.

The book started slow, with Spenser moping because Susan Silverm...more
Spenser is in a funk. Susan has left Boston for a psychiatric internship in Washington D.C., and there are a lot of questions hanging over their relationship. Depressed and bored, he agrees to take a job running security for a born-again Christian right-wing politician named Meade Alexander who is on the campaign trail. It’s an odd fit for the secular and apolitical Spenser, but he’s so sad that he can barely manage to make the occasional smart-ass comment about Jesus. The only thing that mildly...more
Jane Stewart
Weak 3 stars. Not as good as others in the series. My mind wandered at times.

Here’s a term I hadn’t heard - granny sex. Sleazebag invites 40-something women to his home for sex orgies with college boys. A two-way mirror allows others to watch, take pictures and laugh. The older women have sags and wrinkles that 20-somethings don’t. That was unsettling. Two of these sex scenes are briefly described - no details.

As to plot, characters, and actions - nothing really grabbed me, nothing memorable, no...more
Spenser is moping around some, drinking his Irish whiskey right out of the bottle. Susan is in school up in Washington, so our big thug is feeling a little sorry for himself. I'd feel better if Susan stayed out of Boston...but, that's another story.:)
The usual Spenser wit, and good 'ol investigative work (his usual stakeout) takes him up against a top mob man in Boston. Good stuff thirty years after this one came out.
That was a really good one, spenser was in rare form. I really liked how uncertain he becomes about his relationship with susan and subsiquently himself. it has a really somber feel to it and a building tension between them as they begin to grow apart. this book feels like the series is building to something and that energy is what's missing from the later books in the series.
Parker's tenth Spenser book is vintage Spenser, though it's near the point where Parker began to phone it in (after "A Catskill Eagle"). Admittedly, phoned-in Parker still had significant elements of the vintage Spenser books, but they were shorter, more focused on the conversations between Spenser and Susan about manhood, less hard-edged (except for couple, like "Small Vices"), and, amazingly, with fewer literary references slyl embedded in the dialogue. In this case, Spenser ends up working se...more
Sometimes, things that look too good to be true are too good to be true. In this case, the wife of a Senate candidate is just that. Indeed, my immediate impression as I started reading this book on my regular commute was that this plot was going to give Parker a chance to blast the right-wing candidate espousing traditional Judaeo-Christian morality. Indeed, I was certain of this because I was well aware of Spenser's opinions of theism in general and traditional sexual ethics in specific.

Gerald Sinstadt
This is the 10th Spenser novel, picking up on one or two themes from Early Autumn (Spenser7, published a year earlier in 1980). By the standards of others in the series, the incidence of vioence and killings is relatively small as Spenser is engaged to minimise the potential damage of blackmail in a congressional election campaign.

Already there are signs of the elements that set Parker's detective apart from most others. His relationship with Paul Giacomin, the young would-be ballet dancer, is m...more
Not the best of the Spensers but still worth reading. Has a wonderful epigraph that limns the title:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;...

From W. B. Yeats's "The Second Coming"

And a wonderful line on page one:

What you thought about it, silence was rarely silent. Silence was the small noises you heard when the larger noises disappeared.
Not one of my favorites in the Spencer series. The audio only ran for a little over four hours, though the narration by Michael Prichard was as good as usual, and it seemed like Parker was fixated on the Spencer/Susan relationship and the main plot about blackmail, politics, and organized crime was an afterthought.
In my continuing review of the series to see where Spenser and Susan went off the rails, this one. I last read it years ago, probably in the late 90's, and did not see at that time how persistent the politics in it would be. It's worth revisiting just for the plus-ca-change factor, especially if you're young and had some idea that evangelism in politics just appeared with the 2000 election.

The events of this book take place a year after the events of the previous installment. Susan has left Mas...more
Cathy DuPont
Pretty good book with the subject as timely today as ever: corruption and hypocrisy in politics.

Spenser's doing some introspection here, in fact, a lot more than usual. He doing some self examination since Susan is moving forward with getting her Ph.D. in psychology and Spenser resents her being away. He loves her but tries to understand himself and his feelings without her closer to him. Young Paul, from an earlier book, makes a brief appearance and opens a door to Spenser psyche which Spenser...more
I've read all the Spenser novels, starting with the first. I was just re-reading this one, because reading is such a vice that I will read the back of cereal boxes and I was out of "stuff." Although I discovered Robert B. Parker late in the series, not being a particular mystery fan, I started at the beginning with "The Godwulf Manuscript" which was very simplistic, and it was really interesting to watch his development as a writer, and the growth of the depth of his characters. Plus he just cra...more
Spenser is hired as a security man for Meade Alexander’s election campaign, but fairly quickly he’s embroiled in a blackmail plot concerning Mrs Alexander’s raunchy, extra-curricular activities and finds himself pitted against a Senator and a Boston crime boss. Another cracking novel from Parker (and sharing some of the sleazy, unpleasant aspects of the previous book in the series ‘Ceremony’), this zips along at a real pace, with some beautifully curt descriptions and a fine line in humour. It t...more
My 2nd Spenser book after the 1st one written by RBP. Here Spenser is a better established person and has already gotten into a relationship with Susan Siverman & has the Hawk among his friends.

In this book he works for a wannabee congressman who wants to be elected. Spenser took the job to be closer to Susan who is in the middle of her residency in Washington. While Spenser has little sympathy for the congress person when he finds out that there is some blackmail going on with a tape on whi...more
54 out of 100 for 2010.

Still Easter egging my way back through Parker's Spenser series. This novel finds Spenser hired to do security for a Congressman names Alexander planning on making a Senate run. Alexander is being blackmailed for his wife's infidelity. He is committed enough to his spouse that he does not want her to be drawn into scandal, and is even willing to withdraw from the Senate race in order to protect her.

The person doing the blackmailing is a young Georgetown student who happens...more
In this book Susan is doing doctoral work in Washington, D.C.,
so much of the book is set there while Spenser is working on a case.
I could identify with this comment by Susan about Spenser: "Despite
the fact that I have much more formal education than you do, and despite your somewhat physical approach to problem solving, you are an
intellectual and I am not."
Spenser explains himself to Paul, his 'adopted' son: "I am what I am, kid. Not by accident. But effort, a brick at a time. I knew
what I wan...more
Aug 15, 2013 Joe rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: mystery
Parker used this book to get pretty introspective. Some pretty deep stuff at times regarding the long distant relationship with Susan Silverman and Spenser's feeling of abandonment during holidays. It was handled quite nicely. Paul Giacomin has become another character that can spar with Spenser intellectually. A little far fetched for an 18 year old, but provides some very interesting dialog. The story... also interesting with Spenser, the agnostic, apolitical, free thinker working for an extre...more
Cathy Cusson
This book finds Spenser in deep reflection about relationships. It makes me a bit nervous about his and Susan's future (except I have read some later novels). I loved the depth Spenser shows in this mystery with how he goes about solving it.
While it was interesting to see Spenser and Susan before they become as solid as they are in later books, this one just didn't grab me as much as I expected to love it. Not one of my favourites but maybe I need to space out my Spensers a little more.
Sharon Arnoldi
Parker is fabulous. Anyone wanting a series with an intelligent private eye could do no better. Parker wrote more than 50 of these, just jump in with the first one and enjoy.
Not his best - but Parker is still one of the best authors for my taste. This book deals with a politician whose wife falls into a scam threatening his run for office.
More on the relationship of Spenser and Susan and Paul with a side story of a bored politician wife's indiscretion during election year.
Good Spenser read. I appreciate the physical philosopher.
Sue Robinson
Can't get enough of the Spenser novels.
M. D.
As the books in the Spenser series go, this one was a bit slower and not as exciting as some. Still, it was well done, as always, by Parker. The story spent a lot of time in Spenser's head, which slowed the story a bit but was still important to the series as a whole. It was really a story about Spenser soming to terms with who he is as it relates to Susan Silverman. It other words, it was about Spenser's growth as a character which is very important to a series. Not one of my favorites but stil...more
While I've always enjoyed the romance between Spenser and Susan, this book made me appreciate it even more. The intensity of Spenser's love for Susan was so sweet in this story. He struggles to understand his love for her, and when he finally does, the moment is quiet and wonderful. Susan's feelings are more complicated than Spenser's; she loves him but she wants her own space and her own truth. The ending of this story made me cry...and I'm rarely sappy, but today...
Cherie In the Dooryard
I've systematically been working my way through Robert Parker's Spenser novels, and this is likely to be one of my favorites. His best work (like Looking for Rachel Wallace) embed larger themes within a compelling mystery and this is one of those. The mystery surrounding a congressman's philandering wife triggers Spenser to think about love, devotion, and it's role in his own life. Good stuff.

Plus, I just really like Spenser.
Jeff Yoak
A surprisingly average Spenser novel. It was a surprise because I knew going in that it had Paul and Hawk in it, and delved into emotional aspects of his relationship with Susan, but I didn't feel it did so in particularly deep or insightful way. Hawk was nearly an afterthought in this one and Paul merely shows up and we see he's ok and thriving. There wasn't anything bad about it. It was just typical and average.
(#10 in the Spenser series)-This was OK. Spenser is hired to stop a blackmail of a Congressman running for the Senate. Susan is in DC going back to school. Spenser is dealing with his love for her and the small piece of Susan he can’t get to.Paul is back in this one. The confusing part to me is, why did Parker wait a couple books to have him appear back in his life. Hawk is in this one for maybe a chapter at the end.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database named Robert B. Parker.
Robert Brown Parker was an American crime writer. His most famous works were the novels about the private detective Spenser. ABC television network developed the television series Spenser: For Hire based on the character in the late 1980s; a series of TV movies based on the character were also produced....more
More about Robert B. Parker...
The Godwulf Manuscript (Spenser, #1) Sixkill (Spenser, #39) Chance (Spenser, #23) Painted Ladies (Spenser, #38) Split Image (Jesse Stone, #9)

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“Thank you sir," she said. "I hope that your friend feels better soon."
I shrugged. "The ways of the Lord" I said, "are often dark, but never pleasant.”
“...You have any suggestions, make them. I'm in charge but humble. No need to salute when you see me."
Fraser said, "Mind if we snicker every once in a while behind your back?"
"Hell, no," I said. "Everyone else does.”
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