Shamus Books

Review: The Widening Gyre by Robert B. Parker


This is the 10th book in the Spenser series featuring the hardboiled private investigator from Boston. In this episode, the relationship between Spenser and his girlfriend Susan Silverman has hit something of a speed bump and he takes a somewhat unusual case working security for a politician.

The book was nominated for the Shamus Award for Best PI Fiction for 1984.

Book Details

Title: The Widening Gyre
Author: Robert B. Parker
Pages: 183
Published Date: 1983
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Series Details: 10th book in the Spenser series

Buy A Hardcopy

Buy eBook

Publisher's Synopsis

The adoring wife of a senatorial candidate has a smile as sweet as candy and dots her "i's" with little hearts. A blond beauty, she is the perfect mate for an ambitious politician, but she has a little problem with sex and drugs--a problem someone has managed to put on videotape.

The big boys figure a little blackmail will put her husband out of the race. Until Spenser hops on the candidate's bandwagon.

But getting back the tape of the lady's X-rated indiscretion is a nonstop express ride to trouble--trouble that is deep, wide and deadly.

Other Reviews

New York Times

For almost 10 years Robert B. Parker has been writing his privateeye novels about Spenser, who operates out of Boston, and the 11th in the series, THE WIDENING GYRE, adheres pretty much to the successful formula established with ''The Godwulf Manuscript'' in 1974...Read Full Review

Kirkus Reviews

Case #10 for Boston's Spenser—who made himself a well-deserved reputation with his first four appearances (especially Promised Land) but has been in sketchy, self-indulgent decline ever since. This time, as in A Savage Place and Ceremony, the plot is again a serviceable chestnut...Read Full Review

Tim Harvey

The Widening Gyre, Parker’s 11th novel and 10th featuring Spenser, finds the rough-and-tumble Boston gumshoe investigating the blackmail of one of his state’s candidates for U.S. Senate. Similar to Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer...Read Full Review

GoodReads Reviews

"Spenser is in a funk. Susan has left Boston for a psychiatric internship in Washington D.C., and there are a lot of questions hanging over their relationship. Depressed and bored, he agrees to take a job running security for a born-again Christian right-wing politician named Meade Alexander who is on the campaign trail. It’s an odd fit for the secular and apolitical Spenser..."

At the time of writing there are 198 reviews posted to the GoodReads website as well as 4,472 ratings for an average of 3.9/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the GoodReads website.

Amazon Reviews

"The plot in the Widening Gyre is fairly slim - Spenser takes on a blackmailer - but it still has plenty to say. There is a deepening of Spenser's character as he deals with Susan's absence, both physically in Washington and mentally as she strikes out on a new career path, leaving him behind, he feels. So it is a rather melancholic, reflective Spenser we meet"

At the time of writing there are 178 reviews posted to the Amazon website for an average of 4.5/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the Amazon website.

Other Shamus Best PI Novel nominees - 1984

True Detective


Max Allan Collins

*** winner ***

Dancing Bear


James Crumley

The Glass Highway


Loren D. Estleman