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Painted Ladies ? A Spenser Novel
Robert B. Parker
Putnam 2010

Painted Ladies is the best Spenser mystery in the last 10 or so years. Very faint praise as fans of the Robert B. Parker series know Spenser has been going downhill for a long, long time. In Painted Ladies the detective is actually working a case and spends less time waxing about how wonderful Susan Silverman is and describing their suppers in detail.

Spenser is hired by a college art professor as a bodyguard. The professor is to exchange a ransom for a valuable Renaissance painting. The professor and the painting get blown up. Spenser being a man's man and a detective's detective must of course find the culprits who made him look bad. He also reimburses the museum for not coming through on protecting the professor.

Like in most novels in the series the detective muddles about, exchanges quips with recurring characters, is hit on by Linda Feore, and tells anyone  who will listen how wonderful Susan Silverman is.  The only real difference in Painted Ladies is his dog gets a mate.

The story here is generic and the solve reads like it was cobbled to make things fit. This is a case where a reader should not ask too many questions about the solve. It would not even satisfy Matlock.

Painted Ladies is for Spenser and Robert B. Parker completists unless, like me, you found a free epub copy on the internet