The people at Berkley Books are no fools. Melancholy Baby, the new Sunny Randall mystery novel by Robert B. Parker (the creator of Spenser) comes with a money back guarantee. You would have to be a pretty difficult mystery fan not to like this latest installment in the adventures of Boston P.I. Sunny Randall and Robert B. Parker is one of those safe bet mystery writers who always writes a decent if not always brilliant whodunit so Berkley is not really taking any risks. Melancholy Baby is not Parker’s best crime novel ever, it may not be the best Sunny Randall novel ever, but Melancholy Baby is a very entertaining and satisfying read.
Melancholy Baby basically refers to how main character Sunny Randall feels in this novel. Her ex-husband and occasional bedmate Richie has gotten remarried and this causes Sunny to question her life. At the same time, Sarah Markham, a young and troubled college student, hires Sunny to probe into her past. Markham believes she was adopted even though her parents categorically deny this.
Of course, at first the detective finds her client difficult to deal with and difficult to believe. Of course, the bad guys then decide to intimidate both the client and the P.I. so this only gets the detective even more motivated in solving the case. Of course, Sunny Randall solves the case although some readers will find old deus ex machina plodding quite heavily in the last couple of chapters but what the hell.
What makes Melancholy Baby a fun read is not only Parker’s usual talent for telling a good yarn with a solid character. This novel also features a guest appearance by psychiatrist Susan Silverman (Spencer’s girlfriend) as Sunny’s shrink. It is kind of neat to get a client’s point of view on the Silverman character while the stuff Sunny Randall consults her about does not get maudlin. Parker also had the skill and intelligence not to have Spenser show up by accidentally opening the door or something like that.
Melancholy Baby may not be Robert B. Parker’s best mystery novel ever but is it a very good and entertaining whodunit and sometimes that is all you want out of life.
Other Robert B. Parker Reviews
Cold Service - A Spenser Mystery: A little less than a Spenser novel should be.
Double Play: Double Play, a suspense built around the story of baseball great Jackie Robinson
Sea Change - A Jesse Stone Mystery: The fifth Jesse Stone novel and a solid read.
School Days - A Spenser Mystery: One of the better Spenser mystery novels. No Hawk, no Silverman.
Jesse Stone : Death In Paradise DVD: Third Jesse Stone DVD starring Tom Selleck, really really good mystery.
Jesse Stone: Night Passage DVD: First Robert B. Parker Jesse Stone second DVD in the series.
Hundred-Dollar Baby - A Spenser Mystery: A dreadful Spenser mystery. A waste of time and money
Blue Screen - A Sunny Randall Mystery: Very ordinary Sunny Randall mystery with stupid ending.
Jesse Stone : Sea Change DVD: Good stuff if subdued
High Profile - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Readable? Yes. Believable? Hmmm.
Spare Change - A Sunny Randall Mystery: Sunny Randall and her dad team up to find a serial killer. Not a bad novel.
High Profile - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Banal mystery by writer who puts out too much.
Night and Day - A Jesse Stone Mystery: Good read and toss kind of mystery.
Jesse Stone - No Remorse DVD: Very moody but very good made for TV mystery
Rough Weather - A Spenser Mystery: Decent enough for a later Spenser.
Painted Ladies - A Spenser Novel: 39th Spenser and as ordinary as the last 12 or so
Jesse Stone - Innocents Lost DVD: 2011 TV movie. Good but formulaic
Jesse Stone - Benefit of the Doubt DVD: Eighth in the series and just as good.