old black magic

Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic

Robert B. Parker’s Old Black Magic (Spenser # 46) by Ace Atkins. I used to read Spenser some years ago when the late Parker was writing the series. I don’t believe I’ve read any of the Spenser books since his death until now. Well, it’s nice that the Parker’s family and his publisher decided not to retire the series. (see article). From the article, it appears that Spenser’s lifestyle emulates his creator. (How he has an exclusive relationship with Susan, but they live apart. Supposedly, they are committed to each other.) So, anyway, the publisher and his family selected Atkins to pick up the mantle and continue the Spenser series.


Iconic, tough-but-tender Boston PI Spenser delves into the black market art scene to investigate a decades-long unsolved crime of dangerous proportions.

The heist was legendary, still talked about twenty years after the priceless paintings disappeared from one of Boston’s premier art museums. Most thought the art was lost forever, buried deep, sold off overseas, or, worse, destroyed as incriminating evidence. But when paint chips from the most valuable piece stolen, Gentlemen in Black by a Spanish master, arrives at the desk of a Boston journalist, the museum finds hope and enlists Spenser’s help.

Soon the cold art case thrusts Spenser into the shady world of black market art dealers, aged Mafia bosses, and old vendettas. A five-million-dollar-reward by the museum’s top benefactor, an aged, unlikable Boston socialite, sets Spenser and pals Vinnie Morris and Hawk onto a trail of hidden secrets, jailhouse confessions, and decades-old murders.

Set against the high-society art scene and the low-life back alleys of Boston, this is classic Spenser doing what he does best.


Spenser is a PI. And he’s one of the few fictional PI’s that draws my attention. For a sample of my other favorite fictional characters, see here or here.

If I remember correctly, Parker’s writing style is slightly different. I remembered more witty conversations, shorter prose. However, I could be wrong.

The story is quite fascinating. Just when you think he’s found it, he lost it again. I’m not sure if I anticipated that ending. So, I guess it’s good.

All in all, it’s still an exciting read.

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