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.
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.
This report prepared by Kevin R. Tipple
Robert B. Parkner
Putnam, March 2004, 22.95, 320 pp.
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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner