Hush Money by Robert B. Parker (PWBR00052)
Plot or Premise
Spenser has two cases, one from Hawk and one from Susan. Hawk wants him to help a black college professor who was refused tenure on the basis of rumours that he was gay, he had an illicit affair with a student, and the student committed suicide as a result of a broken heart. Susan wants him to help a friend who claims she is being stalked.
What I Liked
The plot surrounding the black college professor is a typical Spenser novel — take a case for no pay, find there is something weird, start investigating, push some buttons, find out suspect number 1 is connected, and get a visit from some heavies. However, the handling of discrimination issues based on sexual orientation or colour of skin is well done, and that alone raises the story above a typical novel. Of course, the writing is first-rate, as Parker’s work always is, and the story proceeds at a fast clip, with enough twists and turns to make it interesting.
What I Didn’t Like
The second case involving Susan’s friend is ridiculous. Susan is a first-class shrink — yet she apparently is surprised when she finds out that the friend has attached herself to Spenser as her white knight coming to save her, whether he wants to be rewarded or not. Not well handled by Spenser’s character or Susan, doesn’t fit either’s characters’ background in previous novels, and just rings false with each development. Mind you, the resolution of the problem by Susan is first-rate. It just takes a long time to get there.