Spenser (character)

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Spenser (his first name is never revealed) is a fictional character in a series of detective novels by the American mystery writer Robert B. Parker, as well as a television series (Spenser: For Hire) and a series of TV movies (Spenser (TV movies)), based on the novels.



Spenser was born in Laramie, Wyoming[1] and is a Boston private eye in the mold of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe, a smart-mouthed tough guy with a heart of gold. Unlike Marlowe, Spenser maintains a committed relationship with one woman (Susan Silverman). Although he is an ex-boxer (who likes to remind readers that he once fought the former heavyweight champ Jersey Joe Walcott) and lifts weights to stay in shape, he also is quite well-educated, cooks, and lives by a code of honor he and Susan discuss occasionally—though as infrequently as he can manage.

Spenser bears more than a passing resemblance to his creator, Robert B. Parker. Both are Bostonians, and both spent time in Korea with the U.S. Army. Unlike Parker, however, Spenser hardly grows older. He was 37 when introduced in The Godwulf Manuscript and is now (mid-October 2006) some 49½ years old, according to the "Bullets-and-Beer formula"[2], aging 12½ years for about 36 years of real time. This requires some retconning—Spenser stopped making reference to his military service in the Korean War as an eighteen-year old, as he did in the first novels — although in 2006's Hundred Dollar Baby Spenser mentions being on "R and R" in Japan before going back to the war, although exactly which war is not made clear.

The other major character in the Spenser novels is his close friend Hawk, an equally tough but somewhat shady echo of Spenser himself. Spenser and Hawk met as boxing opponents in a preliminary bout in the Boston Arena (now known as Matthews Arena). Each man believes he was the victor."[3] Hawk may be modeled on the sidekick in Book Five of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene; Artegal, the knight of justice, has a helper named Talus who is an invincible man of iron.[citation needed]

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