August 03, 1981 12:00 PM

by Robert B. Parker

Spenser is a detective out of the Hammett-Chandler tradition. Usually he operates in Boston, but this time he’s in Hollywood to help a TV news-woman who is uncovering a showbiz scandal. Parker is wonderful with jazzy dialogue and descriptions. Here is the way Spenser sees Los Angeles: “It was a big sunny buffoon of a city; corny and ornate and disorganized but kind of fun…It was where we’d run out of room, where the dream had run up against the ocean, and human voices woke us.” Parker, a Boston suburbanite who’s written seven previous Spenser novels, may be a bit too literary and kill off one character too many, but he does this tough-detective business to perfection. (Delacorte, $10.95)

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