“Axioms to Live By.” I found these in a little coffeeshop paper at the grocery store: 1. Going to a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car. 2. My idea of housework is to sweep the room with a glance. 3. It is easier to get forgiveness than permission. 4. For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program. 5. Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks. 6. A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand. 7. Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist change places. 8. Opportunities always look bigger going than coming. 9. By the time you can make the ends meet, they move the ends. I love that first one about pseudo Christians and the last one about our inability to keep up with inflation.
Parker’s first Spenser, The Godwulf Manuscript, was written in 1973 and the style was young and hardboiled, sort of like the stuff that McBain and MacDonald were writing in that era. Spenser was just as smart-mouthed then as he is now. And he loved to cook just as he does now. He mentioned that he was thirty-seven then. Thirty-nine years later he’d be seventy-six but he was depicted in the last novel as in his mid-forties. So I guess for the last thirty-nine years Spenser and the ageless Susan Silverman have been in a chronos crawl, aging about two months for every year. But the world they pass through has kept up with the times. In this first novel we meet Joe Broz, the gangster boss who shows up in quite a few books down the line. And we're introduced to Lt. Quirk and Belson, both of whom don’t have much time or fondness for Spenser. That would come later. What a good series that was . . . is, despite the untimeliness of the plot movement.