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Painted Ladies (A Spenser Mystery) par [Parker, Robert B.]
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Painted Ladies (A Spenser Mystery) Format Kindle

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

Private Detective Spenser is on his easiest job yet. Art professor Ashton Prince has hired him to help recover a stolen painting. The thieves will return it in exchange for a ransom. All Spenser has to do is accompany Prince, just in case. And collect his fee.

But, as Prince walks away from the exchange towards Spenser's car carrying the wrapped painting, it explodes. Prince is gone, and with him, Spenser's cash.

Starting to investigate, Spenser discovers Prince's past is far from squeaky clean, but nothing warrants going to such unusual lengths to kill him. Who did it, and why?

Biographie de l'auteur

ROBERT B. PAKER was the author of more than fifty books. He died in January 2010.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 720 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 303 pages
  • Editeur : Quercus (28 octobre 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B004FGMCT2
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Composition améliorée: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5 1 commentaire client
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Par Gail Cooke TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS le 9 décembre 2010
Format: CD
Have to admit it - seeing the name Joe Mantegna on an audio book sells me immediately. His incredibly compelling reading of Boardwalk Empire is one of my all-time favorites and the same can be said of PAINTED LADIES.

A 40 year show business veteran he is an accomplished, versatile actor as evidenced in over 100 films (The Godfather Part 3, Forget Paris, etc.) In addition, his television appearances have garnered critical praise (The Rat Pack, The Last Don. Criminal Minds).

This wealth of experience is obvious in his stellar narration of what regrettably is one of the last Robert Parker Spenser novels. Mr. Parker will be greatly missed, and I join millions of others in remembering him for the many hours of listening/reading pleasure his books have brought.

In his inimitable way Parker grabs us from the beginning with PAINTED LADIES. Spenser has agreed to guard art professor Ashton Prince during a ransom payoff - thieves are being paid for the return of a stolen painting. As it turns out Prince really needed a guard as he's blown to bits during the procedure.

We all know that Spenser can't let that pass so he determines to find out exactly who stole the painting, why the ransom wasn't simply accepted and the painting returned, and why and by whom Prince was so explosively dispatched.

We're treated to the return of some of the characters we've learned to appreciate in previous Spenser tales as well as some intricate sleuthing on Spenser's part.

As I understand it there is one more Spenser novel due out next year. Meanwhile, enjoy PAINTED LADIES and the narration of Joe Mantegna.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
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80 internautes sur 84 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Spenser's First Farewell... 6 octobre 2010
Par His&Hers - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié not what I would have hoped for from the first of the impromptu trilogy of Spenser's final adventures. But Robert B. Parker wasn't planning on the heart attack that took him away.

The primary hole in this book is: no Hawk. He's said to be in Central Asia (presumably Afghanistan though it isn't stated) working for the CIA. As a result, the dialogue suffers from a lack of Parker's trademark repartee. There's also at least one minor continuity breach but nothing that mars the book. It's reminiscent of the earliest books were Spenser referred to the mother who had, in the later books, died while giving him birth.

The plot also, at least in the first 2/3rds of the book, almost reads like a re-write of the previous Spenser novel, "Rough Weather": really bad guy reappears to reclaim a long-lost daughter. But the two novels are alike only in bare outline. The villain is one of Parker's weaker ones. Unlike Rugar, or Joe Broz or Marty Anaheim, there's almost nothing to distinguish him from The Generic Standard Bad Guy from Central Casting. He's not painted with the complex palette that Parker's best villains and anti-heroes usually have. Instead he's essentially one color and a drab one at that.

As I said, tho' it resembles "Rough Weather" it takes a sharp turn, presenting Spenser with one of his trademark dilemmas. The solution, however, is not.

While, to reiterate, I would have preferred a stronger book, this one, despite the flaws listed above, meets all, if not exceeds, the standards we've come to expect from Parker. The crisp, crackling writing; the colorful names (although, thankfully, he doesn't push this to the point of parody as did Lawrence Sanders) and many of the usual cast of characters that have populated Spenser's Boston for the past 25 years.

If you're a dedicated Spenser fan like I am (been reading the novels for 24 years), then I think you'll be filled if not full. If you've never read one of the books before, I highly suggest you either start at the beginning, "The Godwulf Manuscript" or plunge in, mid-stream, with the best of the novels, A Catskill Eagle (Spenser Novels (Dell)).

What maybe the last full-length Spenser novel will be published next May called Sixkill (Spenser Mystery)

Before "Sixkill" there is an "Untitled Spenser Holiday Story" scheduled for publication next month. Whether this is another full length novel or the last one of the "young adult" books that began with "Chasing the Bear" isn't made clear. I certainly hope it's the former and not the latter.
26 internautes sur 28 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Spotting the Fakes 29 octobre 2010
Par Peter Snow - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
The plot of Parker's latest novel, Painted Ladies, which centres on the theft of a Dutch masterpiece, is handled with all of Parker's customary deftness, tautly maintaining the tension and interspersing typically sharp Spenserian dialogue with scenes of sudden, shocking violence. But is the new novel a success? Would we pay much attention to it if it had appeared without the context of the preceding series? The two great strengths of the earlier Spenser books - that delving into Spenser's own persona and also into the layers of American society - are largely missing. Despite its Jewish elements the novel makes no real attempt to penetrate the cultural and moral maze of Jewish America. And perhaps it would be unrealistic and over-demanding to expect it.

However there are characteristic and welcome Parker touches, such as his sympathy for the young and vulnerable, which typically even extends as far as the villains. Even the bad guy Herzberg started out with good intentions and, as Susan points out in the closing pages, his descent into crime was in part driven by the historical damage inflicted on him and his family.

Also characteristic is Parker's merciless skewering of the phoneyness and pomposity of academe. What the novel does succeed in doing is to explore and link various kinds of deception and bad faith. Its dominant theme is fraudulence and inauthenticity, themes that perhaps spoke particularly to Parker in age. The `painted ladies' are not just the figures in the genuine and fake paintings but false-seeming characters. No-one is as they seem. Set against their falseness is Spenser's gritty integrity - but even Spenser's occasional attempts to masquerade as a cop in order to get information is emphasised in order to underscore the central theme.

In this new novel Spenser stands somewhat apart as a character. He makes clear his determination to solve the mystery entirely through his own efforts in an attempt to prove and justify himself. Those familiar cops, Quirk , Belson and Healy, put in an appearance, but not Hawk, apparently undertaking a CIA mission in central Asia, and other `friendly' villains - Vinnie, Chollo, etc - are similarly absent. Susan lends emotional and analytical support but is also much more unobtrusive than usual.

Not only does Spenser stand in greater isolation but also in a more retrospective light. It may be the effect of hindsight in the wake of Parker's death, but there seems something nostalgic and, one might add, almost terminal, about the figure of Spenser in this novel. Did Parker, one wonders, have the sense of an ending for Spenser and perhaps also for himself? Apparently there are two more works in the posthumous pipeline - an as yet untitled `Spenser holiday' novel due shortly, and finally Sixkill, scheduled for May next year. It will be interesting to see what further they can add to Parker's notable canon.
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Smooth 12 octobre 2010
Par Mel Odom - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Robert B. Parker's Spenser has been my favorite tough guy private eye for decades. Based in Boston, the ex-boxer has faced several rounds with bad guys of every stripe, and confronted all the moral ills of our society. I love Parker's dialogue in the books, and I love the cast of characters that have become part of my extended family.

Painted Ladies starts off with a bang - literally. The art professor Spenser agrees to bodyguard during a buyback from art thieves gets blown to smithereens in Robert B. Parker's latest (and sadly, one of his last) novels. Of course, Spenser being Spenser, the detective needs to do something to square the balance. He sets off to figure out who killed Ashton Prince, and that's going to require finding out why and what the stakes are.

The novel doesn't really introduce anything new into Spenser's world, or into the reading experience of a long-time reader. There are a lot of good one-liners, but fans have come to expect them, and there are the relationship discussions with Susan, and fans have come to expect those as well.

Spenser does his sleuthing in a round-about fashion, something the series has become known for, and gradually steps on the toes of the menacing killer waiting in the wings. There's even some gunplay, which is over entirely too quickly for my tastes, and a boxing sequence that is well done.

I enjoyed seeing Quirk and Belson, seeing how Spenser shared points of view with both men, and I enjoyed seeing Rita Fiore again, though the comparison Susan did with Rita was a bit off-putting. I don't know where that came from and it went on too long and lingered more than it probably should have.

Parker introduces a lot of material in the book regarding painting and the Holocaust, though I'd thought that bit of dark history a bit too far back. He does a good enough job with it, but the exposure is mostly cursory and only tooled to serve the plot.

I sat and read the book in a single sitting, which is what happens when I usually sit down with a Spenser novel, and I was aware of how quickly the pages turned. I wasn't let down by the reading experience, but I was grimly aware that there will be no more Parker novels in the very near future.

As of this writing, I know that Sixkill is coming next year. If something isn't done, if some long-buried Spenser novel isn't uncovered, the fortieth book in the long-running series is destined to be the last.

I lament, but Philip Marlowe didn't have the literary run that Spenser did. Neither did Travis McGee or Lew Archer or Sam Spade. But I'm going to miss new Spenser books. They've been a part of my life since I found my first one in 1978.
14 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 If this is the conclusion of the series, longtime fans of Parker should say "Bravo." 13 octobre 2010
Par Bookreporter - Publié sur
Format: Relié
PAINTED LADIES opens with the Boston PI with no first name, Spenser, wise-cracking with a potential client who has arrived in his Boylston Street office in need of help. Many of these novels have started in this office the same way. But this time a priceless painting has been stolen from The Hammond Museum, and Dr. Ashton Prince needs to hire Spenser to accompany him and provide security during the ransom exchange.

Simple and familiar enough. But readers and longtime fans know that there is nothing ordinary about this 38th Spenser novel. This is the first book released in the series since Robert B. Parker's death in January. Hence, it might be what we hoped we would never have to read: the last Spenser story. Befitting the author called the dean of American crime fiction, there was a little mystery surrounding the announcement of his passing. It was mentioned that Parker had completed several unpublished works before his death. Two of those books have already come out this year: SPLIT IMAGE, a Jesse Stone novel, was published in February, and BLUE-EYED DEVIL, a Virgil Cole western, arrived last spring. So there is no mention if PAINTED LADIES will be the last adventure for Spenser. We will have to wait and see.

At the risk of reading too much into it, this book has a valedictory feel to it. Can a great writer and artist sense when his greatest literary creation is reaching the end of the road? Well, Spenser shows no signs of aging here. He has not seemingly aged a day or lost a step since his first appearance in THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT in 1973. But there is an unavoidable sense of mortality in these pages.

First the bad news. Longtime fans will be disappointed that Hawk is not present here at the possible end of the series. When the story starts, he is off in Central Asia working for the "Gray Man," the CIA agent who nearly killed Spenser once. So with Hawk off presumably working as a professional government assassin, the bulk of PAINTED LADIES features Spenser and the love of his life, Susan. But the book delivers everything else we expect from a Spenser story, such as the crisp dialogue and short chapters. The joy of these novels has really never been about solving the mystery. Nor were they hard-boiled noir fiction. The fun was to spend time with Spenser, to be the fly on the wall observing a knight errant in the modern world. For in his decency, strength and taste --- here we find that he knows Auden's "Musee des Beaux Arts" --- Spenser reassured us in an ever-changing world that the good guys can still win in the end, at least once in a while.

So what's different about this story? The ransom exchange for the painting goes wrong, and Spenser's client is blown up by a bomb in front of his eyes. Of course, he cannot let it go. He feels responsible for not doing his job of protecting Dr. Prince or the painting. Or, as Captain Healy, another series regular, says, "And he won't let go until he makes this right." Nobody involved --- not the museum or insurance company or the dead man's wife --- seems very interested in making it right, which simply makes Spenser push harder. Twice, he comes within seconds of being killed. And without Hawk to watch his back, it is simply plain luck that keeps our hero alive.

Throughout the series, Spenser has dealt with killers and thugs, but there is something different this time. These killers are professional, with military links tracking back to the Middle East. And it is almost as if the terror of the improvised explosive devise (IED), a direct consequence of our invasion of Iraq, has now come home to haunt Spenser. No, this story has nothing to do with America's current wars, and the politics here traces back to the hatreds of the mid-20th century. But Spenser and Susan seem to have a sense that it all could end in an instant, which of course it did last January in real life.

"I couldn't bare it if they killed you," Susan tells him at one point. And Spenser, being Spenser, simply grins at her and says, "Me, either." So, of course, Spenser uses himself as bait to break the case. And he takes the precaution of writing down all the details of the case and mailing it to Healy to be opened should anything happen to him. He says, "Expect the best...Plan for the worst." Healy responds, "Well, at least I'll have a keepsake."

What results is a Spenser book that builds with tension and foreboding right up until the end. And if this is the conclusion of the series, longtime fans of Parker should say "Bravo." We have marked the autumns of our lives with a new installment in the series like clockwork each and every year for decades. And we have witnessed and enjoyed one of the greatest fictional creations in American literature.

Writers such as Hammett, Chandler and Ross MacDonald created the fictional PI in the mid-years of the American century. Then, when it seemed that noir had become a tired cliché and the optimism of that century was shaken by war abroad and upheaval at home, along came Spenser. (Oh, by the way, Parker teases us about the first name here when Spenser is asked for it by somebody. He tells them. But not us!) We can take comfort in the fact that these books will be read for as long as the works of the earlier masters of mystery are read. Plus, we can go back to the beginning and enjoy them all over again.

Parker writes in PAINTED LADIES, "It had snowed during the night, and the world looked very clean, which I knew it not to be. But illusion is nice sometimes." It sure is. Thank you, Robert B. Parker, for the great reads.

--- Reviewed by Tom Callahan
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Certainly not his best! 22 novembre 2010
Par Ab Uffalo - Publié sur
Format: Relié
There's not many of Parker's books that I haven't read; he is undisputably the best writer in his class today. Or was, I should say. It's hard to imaqine that's there's not going to be a new Spenser, Jesse Stone, or Sunny Randall mystery each year from now on. But at the same time, I hope his estate & publishers don't make the mistake of continuing his books by using ghost writers; that would be the worst insult they could perpetrate to the memory of this great author. Consider the examples of Robert Ludlum, James Patterson & Clive Cussler (yes I know that the latter two aren't dead yet, but much of what is being released in their names should certainly be considered dead - and buried for that matter).
Painted Ladies is not one of Parker's best works, & certainly not up to scratch with most of the other Spenser novels. As other reviewers have duly noted, Hawk is missing. Big mistake for a Spenser book! The banter between Spenser & Hawk is an integral part of all the Spenser titles, & it's sorely missed here. Also, there is too much Susan! God help us, she pops up every second chapter, & their discourses tell us nothing new about their relationship, nothing we haven't read before. I actually found myself skipping over these pieces, once I reached about halfway into Painted Ladies, something I have never done before with any of Parker's books.
Also, the story in Painted Ladies is pretty predictable, with no surprises that are so typical of Parker's works.
But I have given it three stars, and they are for Parker's writing. He drives the story along & his prose is short & to the point. I also love the humour he manages to inject into almost any situation, no matter how serious it is, and for Spenser's self-assuredness, which is legendary - more so than Jack Reacher's dare I say?
I understand Parker had completed several novels before he died, but I don't know if there are any more Spenser's to come. I hope so, because I don't think this is the high point exit we all would have envisaged for Spenser.
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