For Robert Parker's latest Spenser novel (#29, for those counting), Widow's Walk, Putnam's taking him to more than 15 bookstore appearances around the country, including some that were canceled in the wake of September 11. After stops in Florida, he's flying to Arizona (The Poisoned Pen, in Scottsdale), where the author has requisitioned a Mustang convertible (color choice: silver) in which he'll drive to several Southern California stops. Then he's winging eastward to speak at the Smithsonian and do signings in New Jersey (Ridgewood, where he lived in the '50s), Massachusetts and New Hampshire. But no rest then: at the May 2 Edgar Awards ceremony, Parker will be named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. Copies in print total 172,000.

With reporting by Dick Donahue