Beloved author Robert B. Parker died suddenly of a heart attack at his Cambridge Massachusetts home on Monday, January 18, 2010. He was 77. It was reported that he was at work at his desk when he passed away. For more information, read his New York Times obituary.
Parker was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. Parker married Joan H. Parker on 26 August 1956, whom he claims to have met as a toddler at a birthday party (they spent their childhoods in the same neighborhood).
Parker and his wife had two sons, David and Daniel. Originally, Parker's character Spenser was to have the first name "David", but he didn't want to omit his other son. So Parker removed the first name completely and to this day, Spenser's first name remains unknown and rarely referred to.
After earning a BA degree from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, Parker served in the US Army in Korea. In 1957, he earned his Master's degree in English literature from Boston University and then worked in advertising and technical writing until 1962. Parker received a PhD degree in English literature from Boston University in 1971. His dissertation, titled "The Violent Hero, Wilderness Heritage and Urban Reality", discussed the exploits of fictional private-eye heroes created by Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald.
Parker wrote his first novel in 1971 while at Northeastern University. He became a full professor in 1976, and turned to full-time writing in 1979 with five Spenser novels to his credit. ¹
* A Young Spenser Novel
Intend to read them all? For your convenience, a printable Spencer Series Checklist.
VIRGIL COLE AND EVERETT HITCH