THE P.I. NOVEL: SPENSER
I shall be delving into these books from time to time, and last week I finished Looking for Rachel Wallace by Robert B. Parker. I had read some Spenser novels before but this one was new to me, and reminded me why I like crime fiction.
It was fast paced easy to read with crackling dialogue, a good but simple plot, and it dealt with discrimination against gay women in the workplace at a time when it was not being discussed. The clash between militant lesbian feminism and extremist right wing groups, and gender stereotyping are the book's other themes.
The fact that it was written way back in 1980 is a tribute to the ability of the crime novel to tackle subjects that are considered controversial.
But it is the sharp dialogue that gripped me in this PI novel.
"What did you think of it?"
"I thought Simone de Beauvoir already said most of it."
"Have you read The Second Sex?"
"Don't tell the guys down the gym," I said.........
"I also have an active sex life. Not only active but often diverse. You'll have to be prepared for that, and you'll have to conceal whatever hostility you may feel toward me or the women I sleep with."
"Do I get fired if I blush?"
"And she hasn't read the book."
Linda smiled and shook her head."Almost none of them ever do.You can't blame them. Sometimes you get several authors a week plus all the other stuff."
The pressure must be fearful," I said. "To spend your working life never knowing what you're talking about."
"I had always thought," she said, her face still pressed in my shoulder,"that men of your years had problems of sexual dysfunction."
"Oh, we do," I said. "I used to be twice as randy twenty years ago."
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