Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tarnished Legacy?

As expected, some Robert Parker fans are not happy two of his series are continuing beyond his death. A few have made the familiar comment that this is a publicity stunt that will tarnish Parker's legacy.

How is it anything but a compliment to one's legacy that others want it to live on? If Parker's legacy is tarnished at all, Parker did it himself by disregarding details in Spenser's background that, until then, had formed his history.

During Parker's life, it was said if he had only ended the Spenser series earlier, it would be even more renowned and better received than it is. As was his right, Parker not only continued Spenser, but created several subsequent series with dynamics similar to Spenser. Showing the same independent spirit, his estate has now allowed Ace Atkins and Michael Brandman to continue Spenser and Jesse Stone respectively.

In the end, I can say Parker was an eloquent writer who produced one of the steadiest P.I. series. I can't say it's the best, or that Parker had the brightest creative fire. His contemporaries Donald E. Westlake and Lawrence Block, for example, wrote several series that were tonally very different from each other.

1 comment:

Jerry House said...

Continuing a seeies after the creator's death is nothing new, but doing it well is difficult. Continuations of Perry Mason, Nero Wolfe, Hercule Poirot, and others did not last long -- none carrying the full flavor of their creators.

Most of this type, however, are at least readable and can, on some level, be enjoyed.

Pastiches can be regarded the same as film adaptations: interfesting but not the same as the originals.