"It's easy to see why Parker's snappy banter and cynical eye have kept fans turning pages for 25 years . . . his wisecracks, combined with Parker's shorthand flair for scathing characterization, make for a satisfying read, said Entertainment Weekly of last year's Hush Money. Now Parker presents Spenser with a deceptively dangerous and multi-layered case: Someone has been killing racehorses at stables across the south, and the Boston P.I. travels to Georgia to protect the two-year-old destined to become the next Secretariat. When Spenser is approached by Walter Clive, president of Three Fillies Stables, to find out who is threatening his horse Hugger Mugger, he can hardly say no: He's been doing pro bono work for so long his cupboards are just about bare. Disregarding the resentment of the local Georgia law enforcement, Spenser takes the case. Though Clive has hired a separate security firm, he wants someone with Spenser's experience to supervise the operation. Despite a veneer of civility, Spenser encounters tensions beneath the surface southern gentility. The case takes an even more deadly turn when the attacker claims a human victim, and Spenser must revise his impressions of the whole Three Fillies organization--and watch his own back as well.With razor-sharp dialogue, eloquently spare prose, and some of the best supporting characters to grace the printed page, Hugger Mugger is grand entertainment."
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June 01, 2001
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Excerpt from Hugger Mugger by Robert B. Parker
I was at my desk, in my office, with my feet up on the windowsill, and a yellow pad in my lap, thinking about baseball. It's what I always think about when I'm not thinking about sex. Susan says that supreme happiness for me would probably involve having sex while watching a ball game. Since she knows this, I've never understood why, when we're at Fenway Park, she remains so prudish.
My focus this morning was on one of those "100 greatest" lists that the current millennium had spawned. In the absence of a 100 greatest sexual encounters list (where I was sure I would figure prominently), I was vetting the 100 greatest baseball players list and comparing it to my own. Mine was of more narrow compass, being limited to players I'd seen. But even so, the official list needed help. I was penciling in Roy Campanella ahead of Johnny Bench, when my door opened and a man and woman came in. The woman was great to look at, blond, tight figure, nice clothes. The man was wearing aviator sunglasses. He looked like he might have a view on Roy Campanella, but I was pretty sure she wouldn't. On the other hand, she might have a view on sexual encounters. I could go either way.
Good morning," I said, to let them know there were no hard feelings about them interrupting me.
"Spenser?" the man said.
"That's me," I said.
"I'm Walter Clive," he said. "This is my daughter Penny."
"Sit down," I said. "I have coffee made."
"That would be nice."
I went to the Mr. Coffee on the filing cabinet and poured us some coffee, took milk and sugar instructions, and passed the coffee around.
When we were settled in with our coffee, Clive said, "Do you follow horse racing, sir?"