The people at Berkley Books are no fools. Melancholy Baby, the fourth 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.

Melancholy Baby
A Sunny Randall Mystery
Robert B. Parker
292 pages


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