Memorializing Robert B. Parker
A number of people asked when the memorial service for Robert B. Parker, who died on Martin Luther King day, was held. As it turns out, it was on February 7, and that’s when his son David read aloud a long, stirring eulogy. The Washington Post has reprinted it in full, starting like this:
I met my father in 1959 though I don’t remember our first moments
together. Over the years, I thought I’d come to know him quite well,
but I never really understood–until these last weeks–that he was
really three different men.
The man known as Ace was the first: a charming, loutish,
self-aggrandizing, cuddly, hard-drinking, sweet-talking, self-styled
hooligan who used to tell us he’d one day become famous. We didn’t
believe him. It so happened he was right, because his second
incarnation turned out to be Robert B. Parker, the venerated author who
had restored a disreputable but quintessentially American genre–the
detective novel–to its preeminent place in American fiction. He gave
it relevance, he gave it probity and he gave it heat. For this, Robert
B. Parker was beloved by millions and belonged really to the world.
The third man was Bob, and he belonged to us. Bob had been lurking
inside Ace all along but Ace had to loosen his grip a little in order
for Bob to emerge. While Bob posed little threat to the gadfly author
jousting with talk show hosts and speaking in epigrams he was there
inside Robert B. Parker too…
The whole thing is worth reading.
With Parker gone, the inevitable question of who gets his torch as Boston’s next great crime writer comes up – or at least, it’s inevitable to the Boston Globe, who puts forward Dave Zeltserman, Raffi Yessayan, Paul Tremblay and Margaret McLean as worthy candidates. And for the many who question why Dennis Lehane was left out, my own theory is that he is Boston’s current great crime writer, not to mention he is hardly lacking for attention these days…