I lost a friend Monday, a friend I’ve never met or spoken to, a friend with whom I’ve exchanged only one e-mail message. Robert B. Parker died on Monday. Mr. Parker was a prolific and accomplished crime novelist. More precisely, he was considered by peers and readers to be the dean of the genre upon his death at 77.
For reasons he never shared with me, Mr. Parker began mentioning my comic strip in a number of his novels the past few years, beginning, I think, with “Back Story,” the book quoted above. When I responded to his favor by alluding to it in this Sunday strip, I received a terse e-mail from Mr. Parker, saying he liked the book titles on “Spenser’s” desk. I thanked him for his attention, and that was the only communication I ever had with him. Regrettably.