Kemper's Reviews > Paper Doll

Paper Doll by Robert B. Parker
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Jul 02, 2008

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bookshelves: crime-mystery, detectives, 2011-r, spenser, whodunit

Apparently the years of drinking improperly distilled corn liquor have caused more damage than I thought because I had previously rated this as one star and marked it as the place the Spenser series went off the rails. Actually, it’s not that bad at all.

Olivia Nelson was the wife of Boston blue blood Loudon Tripp and they seemed to have a textbook family and a perfect life until Olvia screwed it up by getting whackity-whacked with a hammer to the noggin while walking down the street. With no obvious suspects or motive for the murder, Tripp hires Spenser to investigate. Spenser finds the story of a model wife and mother just a little too perfect and starts digging into Olivia’s past.

I’d forgotten the ending of this one and found myself getting pretty wrapped up in the whodunit piece of this. This also has a great scene with police lieutenant Quirk, being a complete bad ass and giving long time fans some understanding of why Spenser and Hawk consider Quirk to be a kindred spirit. Parker also introduced another interesting supporting character in Lee Farrell, an openly gay cop. The Susan lovey-dovey crap isn’t too bad, and she even gets one of the funniest lines in the book this time.

On the negative side, the plot becomes much less interesting when Spenser veers away from the mystery and starts getting involved in Tripp’s issues of rampant denial about his wife and family. Parker too often made a character’s psychological problems a part of the mystery for Spenser to solve, and the series was always much better when Spenser was battling thugs or trying to unravel a crime rather than playing armchair psychiatrist.

Next up: Spenser goes to the theater in Walking Shadow, but there hasn't been a play end this badly since Abraham Lincoln attended Our American Cousin.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by F.R. (new)

F.R. Drinking improperly distilled corn liquor?

Well, everyone needs a hobby.


Kemper F.R. wrote: "Drinking improperly distilled corn liquor?

Well, everyone needs a hobby."


It's either that or meth....


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