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Ceremony (Spenser) Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1992

92 customer reviews
Book 9 of 41 in the Spenser Series

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Editorial Reviews

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5 1-hour cassettes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Spenser (Book 9)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (August 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440109930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440109938
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.6 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) has long been acknowledged as the dean of American crime fiction. His novel featuring the wise-cracking, street-smart Boston private-eye Spenser earned him a devoted following and reams of critical acclaim, typified by R.W.B. Lewis' comment, "We are witnessing one of the great series in the history of the American detective story" (The New York Times Book Review). In June and October of 2005, Parker had national bestsellers with APPALOOSA and SCHOOL DAYS, and continued his winning streak in February of 2006 with his latest Jesse Stone novel, SEA CHANGE.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Parker attended Colby College in Maine, served with the Army in Korea, and then completed a Ph.D. in English at Boston University. He married his wife Joan in 1956; they raised two sons, David and Daniel. Together the Parkers founded Pearl Productions, a Boston-based independent film company named after their short-haired pointer, Pearl, who has also been featured in many of Parker's novels.

Parker began writing his Spenser novels in 1971 while teaching at Boston's Northeastern University. Little did he suspect then that his witty, literate prose and psychological insights would make him keeper-of-the-flame of America's rich tradition of detective fiction. Parker's fictional Spenser inspired the ABC-TV series Spenser: For Hire. In February 2005, CBS-TV broadcast its highly-rated adaptation of the Jesse Stone novel Stone Cold, which featured Tom Selleck in the lead role as Parker's small-town police chief. The second CBS movie, Night Passage, also scored high ratings, and the third, Death in Paradise, aired on April 30, 2006.

Parker was named Grand Master of the 2002 Edgar Awards by the Mystery Writers of America, an honor shared with earlier masters such as Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen.

Parker died on January 19, 2010, at the age of 77.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Larry Eischen on August 14, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
There is no murder in this entry in the long running Spenser series. The missing person is found before the book is half over. What gives the book it's central focus is Spenser's moral problem-what do you do with a teenage hooker who doesn't want to leave her current 'job'? He passes up the chance to bust a big-time pimp preferring to concentrate on a prostitution ring with its roots in the Boston school system. He rescues the girl from a kinky brothel where insubordinate hookers are sent as punishment only to have her break away and rejoin the the man who recruited her. Along with Hawk, Spenser engages in one of the most astounding fistfights of his career at the headquarters of the ring and manages to rescue the girl again. At the end, Spenser and Susan are forced to face the problem of what to do with the girl. Their options shake Susan to her core and make for an interesting argument on what is good for the girl vs what is legal. This stands head and shoulders above the usual Spenser parade of wisecracks. Along with "Mortal Stakes", this is one of Parker's best.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 1, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I recently finished Spenser's latest, WIDOW'S WALK, and really didn't like it one bit. Thank goodness for CEREMONY, which reminded me of everything I love about the series. The story was complex and meaningful -- student April Kyle has a terrible homelife and turns to hooking. What is worse, what's more damaging to her still evolving psyche? Susan is serious and struggling with real issues. Hawk is a loyal, supportive presence. No extraneous subplots, no strained wise cracking. Just good storytelling. Highly recommended.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 3, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read many of Mr. Parkers books on Spenser and find them very hard to put down. I enjoyed the television series, also and enjoy the relationship between Hawk, Spenser and Susan. I would like to get a list of his older books, which I don't have.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 11, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Spenser's significant other, Susan Silverman, finally takes center stage in "Ceremony." April Kyle, one of the kids at the school where Susan is a guidance counselor, has dropped out of school and become a prostitute. When Spenser meets April's parents it becomes immediately clear why this kid left home and why being a [prostitute] would look good. After meeting them Spenser wants nothing to do with this family, but Susan insists telling him: "For me. A favor. For me." Our hero sighs, tells the mother he will take the case for a dollar and threatens to hurt the father if he does not button up. Susan's involvement does not end at this point in the case and while Hawk is again a strong supporting presence, the key aspect of this novel is Spenser dealing not only with the case but also with how Susan handles how he deals with the case. Their discussions reveal both Spenser's peculiar worldview and the true nature of their own special relationship. This 1982 novel, the ninth in the series, explores more explicitly than most of Parker's novels the ethical relativism that underscores Spenser's decisions. As our hero tells a pimp he is threatening at one point in a marvelous moment of revelation, "I do what I can, not what I should."
The title for this novel is taken from a line of Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" that speaks to "The ceremony of innocence" being drowned. In the book's conclusion Spenser tries to make the best of a bad situation and the tragedy of April's fate is certainly a different type than we have encountered in these books in the past. This is the sort of intimate case that suits Spenser best, played out in the suburbs of Boston and the city's Combat Zone instead of Hollywood or other exotic locales. Besides, he does more cooking when he is at home or hanging out with Susan. "Ceremony" is one of the best of Robert B. Parker's early Spenser novels.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nina M. Osier on May 4, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Boston private investigator Spenser takes on a case that's going to cost him money, not make him money, as a favor to his lover, high school guidance counselor Susan Silverman. A 16-year-old burnout named April has run away from home in the suburban town where Susan works, and the girl's father has announced that he no longer has a daughter after seeing her at work in Boston's Combat Zone. What the father was doing in that infamous area with its hookers, peep shows, and pornography shops, he doesn't say; but Spenser wonders. In any case, the girl's mother does want her back (or at least safe); and Susan wants to get April out of the danger she's in. But when Spenser finds the girl after a merry chase, she doesn't want anything to do with him - and that merry chase puts both April and Spenser in jeopardy as the PI uncovers corruption that reaches far into Commonwealth government.

I found this a difficult read at times, because it's unsparing in its treatment of the child and adolescent sex trade. Dated? Yes; pre-Internet, but so much hasn't changed, with kids still being kids and sick adults still being sick adults. Parker's writing is crisp and entertaining as always, and the relationship between Spenser and Susan continues to develop. Hawk is very much part of the cast in this book, and he's always a delight, too. A one-sitting read for me. Difficult, yes, but I guess it ought to be.

--Reviewed by Nina M. Osier, author of 2005 science fiction EPPIE winner "Regs"
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