Mystery writer Robert B. Parker, best known for his series of books about Boston P.I. Spenser, died earlier this week, reportedly while sitting at his desk.
I've been thinking about the time I almost worked with him (what might be termed "a low brush with fame"). I was working at Delacorte Press in 1994 when they were gearing up to publish Parker's All Our Yesterdays, a non-series novel about a family of Boston cops. My entire relationship with him consisted of one phone conversation when I called to introduce myself as his publicist. He seemed to be a very pleasant man. He had a Spenser novel coming out from another publisher at about the same time with the title Walking Shadow. I asked him if there were any significance to the fact that both titles come from the same soliloquy in Macbeth. As I recall, he dismissed it as the result of "too much education."
Soon afterward I left the company and had no further contact with him.
In 1989, Parker completed Raymond Chandler's last, unfinished novel Poodle Springs. Will someone step up to complete whatever Parker was working on in those last moments as he sat at his desk?