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Sudden Mischief (Spenser) by Robert B.…

Sudden Mischief (Spenser) (1998)

by Robert B. Parker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Spenser (25)

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» See also 22 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I read so many of Parker's Spenser series back when they were new. I still remember sitting in the Knox County Public Library and devouring the entirety [Mortal Stakes], third in the series but the first I read, in one afternoon while playing hooky from high school. (Yes, that's the kind of juvenile delinquent I was: skip school to hang out at the library.) My love for the series has waxed and waned over the years and eventually I stopped reading, right around the time this one was published. So when Mamie and Roberta resumed their shared series read I thought I'd jump in.

It didn't take long for the familiar characters to make themselves at home in my head. Spenser is still a wiseass (might be why I like him), he still pals around with ambiguously bad guy Hawk (who steals the show whenever Parker lets him, which isn't often enough), and he's still (sigh) in love with psychologist Susan Silverman (who makes navel-gazing a four-letter word). She's especially prominent in this one, as she asks Spenser to help out her ex-husband who is being sued for sexual harassment.

Inevitably, we get a lot of Susan backstory and it's sort of interesting to fill in those blanks, but boy did this book make me realize why I drifted away from the series: Every move that Spenser makes has to be talked to death by him and Susan, as they vie to see who can be the most evolved spirit on the planet. I think Parker intends these conversations to be signposts for the reader but having moved on to more sophisticated, subtle mysteries I realize how overdone and anvilicious this dialogue is. Less shrinking, more sleuthing!

Also, given the current climate surrounding the issue of sexual harassment, it irks me that the case that is the jumping-off point for the plot is fake, a made-up story to cover up a consensual affair. As if women don't have enough problems being believed. ( )
1 vote rosalita | Dec 11, 2017 |
See my blog for my review: Martin's View: Sudden Mischief. ( )
  Martin_Maenza | Apr 14, 2017 |
I like his descriptions. I like some of his dialog - I get a big kick out of the bantering with Hawk. And a different kind of enjoyment out of his conversations with Susan. Some of his other characters curse too much for my taste, so I try to ignore them. I think I've forgotten the plot already. . .

One quote:
We sat and looked into the fire and were quiet together. I liked it. It wasn't an absence of conversation, it was the presence of quiet.

I bought the book at HalfPrice, and I plan to donate it to Little Free Library. ( )
  CarolJMO | Dec 12, 2016 |
I'm docking this one half a star because Susan is insufferable in it. ( )
1 vote unclebob53703 | Jan 31, 2015 |
Robert B. Parker is the author of at least 68 novels, about 15 of which I have read. Most of them, as does this one, feature a literate, funny, tough ex-boxer, ex-state cop, turned private detective named Spenser in Boston, Massachusetts. This book is the 25th in the Spenser series. All of them feature fast-paced action, witty repartee that makes fun of racial and ethnic stereotypes, a soupçon of violence, and a bit of mystery. Sudden Mischief is no exception to that formula. As an example of dialog, try this conversation Spenser has with hot-shot defense attorney Rita Fiore:

“Rita started to speak and stopped and started again and stopped without saying anything. She sat silently shaking her head.
“You told Hawk [Spenser’s uber-tough occasional partner] about this yet?” she said finally.
“He have any comment?”
“He said, ‘Umm.’”
“You got any idea what he meant by that?”
“I think he was implying that this enterprise is fraught with peril.”
“Umm,” Rita said.”

Nonetheless, I have to say that I enjoyed this novel less than the others because Parker expended a high proportion of total ink on Spenser discussing his relationship with Susan, his Harvard-educated psychologist girlfriend. Susan has asked Spenser to investigate a sexual harassment suit that has been filed against her ex-husband, Brad. As Spenser and his sidekick, Hawk, trace Brad's business dealings, people with connections to Brad start turning up dead, and Brad goes missing. In the end of course, Spenser and Hawk figure it all out, and Susan reaches a better understanding of her own feelings toward both Brad and Spenser.

Evaluation: Usually, Spenser’s conversations with Susan are high quality badinage, but in this book they are just TOO SERIOUS. I lost interest with all the relationship angst.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Aug 30, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert B. Parkerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Windom, WilliamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Be well aware." quoth then that Ladie milde,
"Least suddaine mischiefe ye too rash provoke"

For Joan: Gloriana
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We were at the Four Seasons Hotel, in the Bristol Lounge.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 042516828X, Mass Market Paperback)

Sudden Mischief, the 25th Spenser novel, finds Robert B. Parker's seemingly ageless sleuth once again engaging Boston's bad guys and sorting out life's moral dilemmas, all (or mostly) in the name of love. When Spenser's girlfriend, psychiatrist Susan Silverman, asks him to investigate charges of sexual harassment leveled against her ex-husband, Brad Sterling, the detective agrees, though the assignment "shows every sign of not working out well." As the sexual harassment allegations melt like April snow, Sterling drops out of sight, a dead body appears in his office, and Spenser discovers a murky slush of clues that suggest Sterling's work as a marketing genius for local charities has been a front for some truly despicable criminal activities. As always, the more-than-slightly-shady Hawk is on hand to help Spenser sort the good from the bad, but Spenser is left to his own devices when it comes to making sense of the emotional havoc the case creates in his relationship with Susan. And what devices they are: emotionally mature and physically dynamic, Spenser once again proves himself as detective, friend, lover, and human being as Sterling's reappearance forces Susan to examine her past and her conscience while searching for her own autonomy. As always, Spenser endures as an intelligent, ethical, and poetic private eye, even if his endless middle age seems a bit supernatural. Parker's nimble, Spartan prose suits a character who carries his years in wisdom rather than body fat. If the heart of any truly great detective series is a truly great detective, Sudden Mischief and the rest of Parker's Spenser novels surely fit the bill. --L.A. Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:13 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

With some trepidation, PI Spenser of Boston agrees to represent a businessman in a sexual harassment suit, trepidation because the accused is a former husband of Susan, Spenser's lover. Sure enough, complications mount, legal and romantic. By the author of Small Vices.… (more)

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