Mar 11, 2009

I dislike horse racing mysteries, but here we are anyway.

Hugger Mugger
A Spenser Novel
by Robert B. Parker

You may wonder where I was the past week, in which case I could not tell you. I was around, doing things, not even taking a horse related media break. I don't know. Couldn't tell ya.

Spenser is back and embroiled in a deceptively dangerous and multi-layered case: someone has been killing racehorses at stables across the south, and the Boston P.I. travels to Georgia to protect the two-year old destined to become the next Secretariat. When Spenser is approached by Walter Clive, president of the Three Fillies Stables, to find out who is threatening his horse Hugger Mugger, he can hardly say no: he's been doing pro bono work for so long his cupboards are just about bare. Disregarding the resentment of the local Georgia law enforcement, Spenser takes the case. Though Clive has hired a separate security firm, he wants someone with Spenser's experience to supervise the operation. Despite the veneer of civility, Spenser encounters tensions beneath the surface southern gentility. The case takes an even more deadly turn when the attacker claims a human victim, and Spenser must revise his impressions of the Three Fillies organization - and watch his own back as well.

Horse racing in Georgia, you say? I think all that needs to be said about the state of the Georgia Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry is that they're all excited about Together Forever getting an Eclipse Award. Together Forever, apparently, being bred in Kentucky by Georgians. Good on you, Georgia!

I got Hugger Mugger as an audio book, not having any idea what was in store for me. Joe Mantegna is the voice of our main character, Spenser, which instantly transforms him from macho Boston man to macho New Jersey gangster. Interestingly, he makes no attempt to replicate a Boston accent for this guy when he is all about trying for Southern accents with the other characters, and most of the Southern accents manage to transform every character into a coquettish 12-year-old girl who cannot stop asking questions.

Anyway, I really don't think this book really deserves a recap or a review, quite bluntly. It's a book in a string of Spenser books, of which I know none but, obviously, this one. Spenser is a P.I., who is hired by these people in Georgia, so he goes down there to investigate the horse shootings and predictably pisses off a couple of Southern men because he's an asshole. And the guy who hired him gets killed and the guy's daughter tells him to go home because obviously the police can handle this and Spenser is not wanted. Totally not telling! Totally.

Spenser goes home to Boston so he can help this random girl get back together with her abusive boyfriend. Nice way to be an enabler, Spenser! Well done.

Then this woman who calls herself a courtesan, but is basically just a whore, even though she expressly says she is not a whore, but come on, shows up in Boston to hire Spenser and send him back to Georgia so he can investigate the Three Fillies family and figure out who killed Walter Clive, because his courtesan/whore/mistress has a son by him and she was cut out of the will, suspiciously enough. Blah blah, things happen, people die, others are scarred for life, and it comes down to the revelation that Walter Clive's youngest daughter had him killed when she discovered that her dad was going to revise his will and place his illegitimate son as the sole heir of Three Fillies. So after this random shoot out with these people hired as security for Three Fillies, everyone is hauled down to the police station so they can figure everything out and have a nice, long chat. No one implicates the youngest daughter in the murder, but they know she did it, so the security guy takes the fall for the entire thing and rich, completely crazy daughter flounces out of the police station. Security guy mutters something about having screwed over women his entire life, and then bemoans that he finally had to pick a crazy one to fall in love with. Spenser is like "yeah, that's too bad." And the book ends abruptly, just like that.

  • From this book, you could assume that all Southern women are whores or completely insane. Of Walter Clive's three daughters, two are nymphomaniacs and one is so celibate she forces her nympho sisters to "clean" themselves after daddy dies. By this I mean she shears off their hair and drugs them so they can do nothing but stare at a wall.
  • Also, one of the nympho sisters married a pedophile. No one bothers to really point out the giant flaw that is this marriage's existence, but because she is so sexually frustrated by her husband's not being attracted to her, she decides to become an escort. Not only that, she decides to let the escort service "place" her at a truck stop so she can perform blow jobs for $30 each. not understand any of this. Although I especially love the fact that everyone has this uncontrollable urge to sooth the pedophile's feelings.
  • Hugger Mugger runs in the Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga. There is a detailed description of this race, wherein it reads like Hugger Mugger beat up a couple of horses on his way to the finish line. If you're going to run up and smack back and forth between two horses in the homestretch, you're going to get an inquiry and you're going to wind up disqualified.

I don't know. It was entertaining for taking up my commuting time. That's pretty much it.

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