Off the Top

A New Generation.
I am enormously pleased to see a new generation arriving and moving up at the library since  the hiring freeze has been somewhat relaxed.  A couple of women who persevered in paraprofessional positions long after they had earned their MLS's have finally been promoted to IP and more over the last year.  We have had new arrivals too.  A very talented young woman who is also a military veteran transferred to our now combined Adult/Tech-Media Services department from another county agency.  And now another  bright young woman has been hired to replace my dear comrade, JR, who retired last summer.  She comes from Michigan with a newly-minted MLS and a year-long internship in reference in Missouri.

I hope that they will stay.  Some of us who interviewed and hired them will one day soon be "withdrawn".

Robert B. Parker: Rest in Peace, Muchacho.
He had already been writing for almost ten years when he was recommended to me by a Random House colleague of my wife's around 1982.  I think The Widening Gyre, (1983), was the last thing I read by him.  Spenser broke the mold of the hard-boiled detective.  He was "sensitive", (he shared cooking and chores with his girlfriend, Susan, listened to her, and valued her counsel), and he had a black partner, Hawk, who was more than a "sidekick".  My father-in-law, Ron Hansen, loved to read Spenser mysteries.

I don't know what remains to be published, but with no new output, Parker's claim on shelf-space in our fiction collection begins its decline, like a balloon with a slow leak.  At a wild guess, he has something like thirty feet now, with many extra copies stored up high.  John D. MacDonald, who died in 1986, now has about half that.

Rankin Disappoints.
I gave it a couple of sittings, but I have abandoned Ian Rankin's latest, Inspector Rebus-less, Doors Open.  Why?  I am trying to pin it down.  Without Rebus, has Rankin's class resentment, now free-floating, become tiresome?  On the other hand, it is about an art-forgery/heist, and art-crime novels don't usually click with me, since I can't picture what they are talking about if they go beyond the basic Humanities class pantheon of artists.

The strongest character in Doors Open is the gangster, Chib Calloway, a reincarnation of Rebus's nemesis, Big Ger Cafferty.  Indeed, Cafferty seemed to overshadow Rebus at the end.

I can't imagine how hard it must be to come up with something new after writing for a successful fictional character for decades.  Doyle was defeated by Sherlock Holmes.  John Harvey, curiously, also turned to art forgery after he concluded his Charlie Resnick series, in In A True Light, which I did enjoy.

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