I read this book about 29-Dec-2005. I've read this book before. The book is copyright 1974. This note was last modified Tuesday, 06-May-2014 15:29:03 PDT.
This is book 2 of the "Spenser" series.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
The second Spenser novel, but I'm not up for starting over from the very beginning; I don't remember anything good about The Godwulf Manuscript except the title.
Interesting that, looking at the list of early titles, there's a rather christian feel. This one of course refers to "god", the first one almost does, and there are also Mortal Stakes, Promised Land, and The Judas Goat. Noteworthy because these days I'd tend to avoid a series that appeared to have such religious connections -- and because in fact religion is a complete non-issue in the actual books.
This is the one where Spenser and Susan Silverman meet and get involved. Hawk doesn't appear, but Henry Cimoli and his health club do. As do Amstel beer, Quirk, and Belsen.
There's an interesting portrait of a dysfunctional family (and there are far worse; nobody is abused). There are some potshots at small-town police, and a nice portrait of a good police Lieutenant.
As always, Spenser is au courant with recent views of society, and not always in accord with them. He seems to me to abstract the useful parts pretty reliably, though. This makes him an interesting observer of society for me.
In this book, he's dealing with a number of homosexual men, at a time when that was far less acceptable than it is today, without much friction. Spenser was apparently at the point then that many people have managed to reach today -- any distaste he feels he considers to be his own problem. The question of whether the underage boy is sexually involved with the older man is never addressed -- but also not agonized over.
There's also a nice brief reference to Spenser not taking the retainer check right out to buy orchids (presumably comparing his economy to Nero Wolfe's).