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In "God Save the Child" he is hired to find a missing 15-year-old boy; then the ransom notes start arriving.
Once under arrest, however, the medievalist revives and, assuming a lofty tone, lectures the police department on the brilliance of his criminal career.
At this Boston university, administrators are phonies, professors cowardly murderers, and students (except the heroine) doped and mindless radicals.
Spenser still remains a smart aleck who shows his dislike for stupidity.
He also is intelligent, educated, a gourmet cook and a mean man with his fists.
Parker must have learned a good deal from "Godwulf"; his new book is more deft, smoother and sharper in characterization.
Where "Godwulf" read like a compilation of every private eye from Chandler on, "God Save the Child" has a great deal more personality and character.
Spenser is a wisecracking guy in the firm tradition of the Chandler shamus, and above and beyond this all the conversations in the books are splendidly swift and sharp.
Parker likes to refer to the minutiae of current American life or to that store of trivial memories that any 40-year-old American has, and this gives his pages a liveliness and an up-to-dateness which is decidedly refreshing. Parker has written five books starring Spenser, the tough Boston operator, a one-man army.
" The detective is less interesting, however, than his antagonist, a small, weak, lecherous professor of medieval literature who early in the story is revealed to be also a radical, dope pusher, and murderer.
This paragon is married to a huge, adoring woman who mothers him and eventually takes five bullets in the stomach so the little man can escape. Spenser finds him cowering in the bathtub where he has wet himself in terror.