Robert Parker’s Painted Ladies is a well-plotted novel.
Spenser agrees to protect an art critic as the critic exchanges money for a stolen painting. The painting is one of a kind.
In an obviously-premeditated attack carried out during the exchange, the blackmailers kill the critic.
We all know the Spenser code. Spenser feels duty-bound to find the killers. He works alone. No Hawk or other help like that. He does work with the usual cops.
Painted Ladies has an extensive backstory. The painting belonged to a wealthy Jewish family most of whom were exterminated in the Holocaust. The history of the painting (do they call it the provenance?) helped provide the motive for the murder.
The critic’s wife, a hack poet, writes a poem about her husband’s promiscuity and death. She writes about the critic’s “painted ladies.”
As is often the case, there are murders along the way.
Few Spenser books surprise me. Usually I work out the plot as I read the book. This book was a little different. I worked out part of the plot, but not all of it.
As usual, I found the book quick reading, the kind of book I often read after I’ve read something more complex or emotional. This time, I decided to finish up Parker’s Spenser series. I’ve been reading them through for a long time. I will miss the annual Parker-written Spenser. (As my dad used to say, “Nothing lasts forever.”)
I have one more Parker-written Spenser to read. I am working on it now.