Walking Shadow

Robert B. Parker, Author Putnam $19.95 (270p) ISBN 978-0-399-13920-8
In fine form here, Parker's sardonic Boston PI Spenser, last seen in Paper Dolls , encounters danger, venality and plenty of comic material in this brisk tale spanning the worlds of experimental theater and illegal immigration. While he'd rather be at work renovating the old farmhouse that he and his lover, psychiatrist Susan, have bought in nearby Concord, Spenser agrees to find out who is following the Artistic Director of the Port City Theater Company, on whose board of directors Susan sits. The detective is utterly bored by a performance of the latest production in Port City, ``a town 50% Portuguese and 50% Chinese''--until one of the actors is fatally shot from the audience. The shooter gets away, leaving Spenser with murder to probe as well. After talking to one of the board members, Spenser is warned out of Port City by the woman's husband, an important member of a Boston tong. The threat prompts a call to his old pals Hawk and Vinnie, who, he notes, blend in to the theatrical scene ``like two coyotes at a poultry festival.'' As Spenser discovers that the influx of Chinese illegals into the area is being overlooked by the Port City Chief of Police, an actress in the company reports that she too is being followed. Another murder and a kidnapping occur before the mysteries are resolved and Spenser can get back to his sledgehammer. Although the detective lags in reaching a conclusion readers may have sussed out earlier, the expected pleasures of an adroit Spenser adventure are here in full supply. BOMC selection. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/02/1994
Release date: 05/01/1994
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