One year ago today, Robert B. Parker died at age 77 "just sitting at his desk". Not all fans will agree with me, but I don't think Spenser should die with him. Iconic P.I. Philip Marlowe outlived Raymond Chandler in the short story collection, Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe: A Centennial Celebration and in Parker's commissioned continuation novel Perchance to Dream. Despite persistent criticism that Parker merely and quite intentionally imitated Chandler in creating Spenser, Spenser's well-adjusted, well-rounded personality distinguishes him. And there's no denying how many subsequent characters Spenser influenced. Love him or hate him, for at least the past twenty-five years, Spenser has been the iconic P.I.
It's true Parker complained about his lack of real involvement in ABC's Spenser: For Hire, similarly denounced the follow-up Lifetime movies, and insisted on scripting the mediocre A&E Spenser movies starring Joe Mantegna. Perhaps acknowledging those movies' cool reception, Parker finally gave Tom Selleck control of the CBS Jesse Stone movies and gave Ed Harris control of Appaloosa. I don't think he would keep anyone from continuing Spenser's legacy.
Yesterday, the title of Jeffery Deaver's James Bond novel was announced (Carte Blanche), as was the news that Anthony Horowitz would be writing a Sherlock Holmes novel. I'd love to hear Parker's heirs give their blessing to more Spenser novels, perhaps written by someone who followed Parker as faithfully as Gores followed Hammett or Collins followed Spillane.