Bad Business Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Bad Business

Marlene Cowley wants to hire Spenser to investigate her husband, Trent Cowley. She is convinced he is cheating on her and wants proof that will humiliate and destroy him in open court. Spenser reluctantly agrees as he does not care for this type of cases and such proof isn't required in the courts of today.
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Before long, Spenser discovers that his client has a tail of her own. Apparently Trent shares the same concerns and has hired another investigator to tail her. The two investigators as a matter of professional courtesy acknowledge each other's case but neither can explain why there soon appears to be yet another investigator involved. Spenser begins looking at that angle and before he can get very far, the deaths begin. The two investigators soon vanish and Spenser is left working a case that grows stranger by the day.

The review of this Book prepared by Kevin R. Tipple

Robert B. Parkner
Putnam, March 2004, 22.95, 320 pp.
ISBN 0399151451

No case is ever easy for Boston private detective Spenser. Wealthy socialite Marlene Rowley hires Spenser to find evidence that her husband Trent, the CEO of Kinergy (an energy trading business), is cheating on her. He tails Trent and quickly learns he is having an affair with Ellen Eisen and that another sleuth is following Ellen, whose husband Bernard also works at Kinergy.

Spenser's case becomes ludicrous when he realizes that a third private detective is following Marlene. On only Spenser's second day of surveillance, Trent is murdered in his office during working hours and nobody saw a thing. Marlene wants Spenser to find out who made her a widow, which leads Spenser into a cesspool containing sexual predators, financial finagling and serial killers.

It has been three decades since Robert B. Parker write the first Spenser novel and the series is as fresh, innovative and appealing today as it was then. The sublime but well written story line is fun to follow as private sleuthing seems like a lucrative business at least in the Boston area. Told in the first person from Spenser's point of view, BAD BUSINESS is a work of humorous prose and fantastic characterizations.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Bad Business

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 20% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Very difficult--no foreshadowing/clues Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   80% Kind of investigator    -   hard boiled/private eye Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   feelings towards lover Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes City:    -   Boston

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment Explicit sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy A lot of techno jargon?    -   Yes Kind of jargon?    -   math Amount of dialog    -   mostly dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Robert B. Parker Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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