Robert Brown Parker
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts
While teaching at Boston area colleges, Robert Brown Parker began writing his series of mystery novels. The first, The Godwulf Manuscript (1974), was set in Boston and featured Spenser, an ex-prizefighting private eye who has been called the literary descendant of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. The Spenser series has grown to more than 25 volumes, including Chance (1996) and Night Passage (1997). Spenser came to the small screen during the 1980s, when Robert Urich starred in the ABC television drama Spenser: For Hire, which produced a spin-off featuring Avery Brooks as one of Spenser's associates in A Man Called Hawk (1988–90). In addition, Parker wrote All Our Yesterdays (1994), which he described as an homage to his Irish ancestry. A fan of Raymond Chandler, Parker finished Chandler's unfinished manuscript, Poodle Springs (1989), drawing praise from critics and fans alike.