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…