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Spenser reads, Samoyed breeds

July 13, 2008

Sammys in a lineupWeekend meandering, after two Robert B. Parker novels and 40 or so Samoyeds at a furball picnic.

Parker. One Spenser, one Jesse Stone. The first, laugh-out-loud dialogue, as usual. The second, just ok. (Don't like the Sonny Randall series at all.) Gotta love a cop novelist who uses the term sotto voce in the first paragraph (and for his lovable dog Pearl, not a human), inamorata by p. 4, and makes references to the Norman Keep and to psychologist Henry Adams 15 minutes in.

Two things I love about Parker novels. One, the repartee among his characters. Brilliant dialogue that makes you want to hang with Spenser, Susan, Hawk, and their collection of colleagues in and around Boston. Two, good reading for waits at the ferry, or for lazing, or when not into heavy lifting plots. Yet it's not penny ante prose. He drops in a line from 17th C metaphysical poet Richard Lovelace that places you in a pseudointellectual quandary: 'Do I go on, and pretend I know where that line about loving thee half so much originated, or look it up?' Look it up?! You're kidding. It's a cop novel, for crime's sake.'

Hey, Parker's a PhD. Former lit prof. He makes fast, fun reads. Not Hammett or Holmes. Thinner plots, but just as literary.

This go-round, it was him or Patchett from the libary check-outs, or the illustrated 1904 Bonnie Scotland that spouse bought me for six bits at the FOIL used book sale. (Friends Of the Island Library. Thanks for asking.)

Spenser was my favorite '80s PI. Quick wit. Best since Travis McGee, from the John D. MacDonald classics that always had a color in the title. Favorite over the last decade: Lou Boldt, the Seattle cop borne of Ridley Pearson's excellent wordsmithing. Whereas Parker tosses a rat-a-tat dialogue, plot-on-the-first-page hook, Pearson interweaves plot lines and thicker mystery with his Oxfordian-polished style.

Between books, the Sammy picnic. Folks from the state/regional rescue program, and their fluffy friends of Siberian purity (check out samples in the photo album), haul over to a hidden spread of rolling-hills woods and celebrate these gorgeous creatures. Ours, Bear, came from this group of loving dogparents who foster them and aid their adoptions. Bear's 7 now, coming to us as a pup of 11 months.

There was some alpha-dog testoserone flowing, growling, and kung-faux fighting. Bear, smack in the middle. For the most part, though, a whole lotta white gracing the scene, with the renowned Samoyed tongue-hanging smile. I was first smitten by the breed at an all-breeds show in Atlanta, many years ago. High maintenance. Hair everywhere. Everybody's friend.

The drive, 166 each way, was worth the joy. Especially with Lon and Mary, locks for the dogworld hall of saints, along with their newest, Jasper, and one they adopted out, Precious.

Closed everything out with fried gizzards at Tony's. A classic dive on the corner of a block-long town. Another story for another time.