cover image Playmates


Robert B. Parker. Putnam Publishing Group, $17.95 (222pp) ISBN 978-0-399-13425-8

Boston private eye Spenser returns to investigate rumored cheating by Taft University's star basketball team in Parker's 19th novel. The challenges of the case at first seem straightforward: when Bobby Deegan, representing mob gangsters, strongly advises the detective to stop snooping, Spenser and his equally intrepid sidekick, Hawk, simply do in Deegan's hired guns. But a trickier moral dilemma then presents itself, and Spenser asks his lover, psychiatrist Susan Silverman, to help him resolve it. Evidence of point-shaving by Dwayne Woodcock, Taft's power forward, threatens the fragile future of this talented black student trying to rise from the slums. Finding that Woodcock has been passed all the way to senior grade, without ever learning to read, Spenser redoubles his efforts to serve justice and mercy both. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild, Mystery Guild and Doubleday Book Club. (May)