Radio Wolinsky

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010), The Spenser novels, 1992

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010), in conversation with Richard Wolinsky and Richard A. Lupoff, recorded June 13, 1992 while on tour for the Spenser novel, “Double Deuce.”

Mystery and suspense author Robert B. Parker died at the age of 77 on January 18, 2010. His career encompassed 38 novels in his popular Spenser detective series during his life, with another three published posthumously, plus nine novels in the Jesse Stone series, four in the Cole and Hitch series, six in the Sonny Randall series, nine other novels, and four books of non-fiction.

There were two Probabilities interviews with Robert B. Parker. The first time, co-hosted with Lawrence Davidson, was recorded in Parker’s hotel room in the spring of 1981. At the time he’d just switched publishers and with Looking for Rachel Wallace and then Early Autumn, he was finally having success as an author.

His success would explode exponentially over the next eleven years, and by the time of this interview. Robert Parker had written an additional ten Spenser novels, the TV series Spencer for Hire starring Robert Urich had run for three seasons, and a spin-off, A Man Called Hawk had had a 13 episode run. In addition, he’d completed an unfinished Philip Marlowe novel by Raymond Chandler, and followed that up with a sequel.

Four Robert Urich Spenser filmswere produced after the interview was recorded, each based on a different Spenser novel by Parker. Three Spenser TV movies, based on three other novels with Joe Mantagna as Spenser ran from 1999 to 2001. A 2020 Netflix film with Mark Wahlberg, Spencer: Confidential, was based on a Spenser novel written by another author, Ace Atkins, who continued the series.

In the interview, Robert Parker insists he won’t start other series. In fact, of course, he did. The Sonny Randall series, featuring a female former cop turned private eye; the Cole & Hitch series of western detective novels, and the Jesse Stone series, featuring the police chief of a small town in Massachusetts. There have also been nine made for television films starting Tom Selleck as Jesse Stone.

This interview was digitized, remastered and re-edited in January 2024 by Richard Wolinsky.