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Summary

When Spenser is approached by Walter Clive, president of Three Fillies Stables, to find out who is threatening his horse Hugger Mugger, he can hardly say no; he's been doing pro bono work for so long his cupboards are just about bare. Disregarding the resentment of the local law enforcement, Spenser takes the case. Though Clive has hired a separate security firm, he wants someone with Spenser's experience to supervise the operation. And Spenser can't help being intrigued by Clive's daughter, Penny - one of the Three Fillies - who has an insider's knowledge of the horse world, a deceptively charming air, and a great pair of legs herself.

Despite the veneer of civility, there are tensions beneath the surface Southern gentility. The rest of the Clive family isn't exactly thrilled with Spenser's presence, the security chief has made it clear he'll take orders from no one, and the local sheriff's deputy seems content to sit back and wait for another attack. But the case takes a deadly turn when the attacker claims a human victim, and Spenser must revise his take on the whole Three Fillies organization - and watch his own back as well.

©2000 Robert B. Parker; (P)2000 Random House, Inc.

Critic reviews

Nominee for Audio Publishers Association 2001 Audie Award, Mystery, Fiction
"...Moves along at a fast and entertaining clip." (Book)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Up to standard

All these Spenser books are the same but that is what you want and there is always a good story. Personally I find Susan a bit tedious, but that may be just me. Joe Mantegna is the perfect reader for this.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Georganne
  • 12-06-05

questionable at first

I thought I was going to dislike the audio at first. The use of "I said","he said","she said" was off the scale! But I actually got used to it very quickly and totally enjoyed the book. I will read another by this author and reader-I think I'm hooked!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jacko45
  • 04-06-05

Really good listen

I'd previously listened to Robert Parker's "Potshot" and enjoyed it. This book has the same mix of old style private eye, tough guy, glamorous and intelligent girlfriend, sexual references etc and it all works - and works well. The narration is first class and fits the character of the book; the plot gets you in and is well developed. I really enjoyed this listen and recommend it to others who want a light and stimulating thriller / detective story.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Me & My Girls
  • 25-07-15

A Long Strange Trip

A kind of a weird story that makes the residents of the lower Carolina (South) look like the sickest/ craziest people in the universe. The main characters highlited in this audiobook is the Clive family that includes a father who's living in the19th century. He has three daughters; the oldest is married to a gay man who it seems enjoys sex with teenage boys; it was a bit disturbing that this was treated as more of a sexual quirk than as the crime it is. His wife thus being sexually frustrated works as a part time prostitute giving head to truckers at local rest areas and truck stops. The second daughter is married to an ex-football player who has become a drunk, thus she sleeps with just about every man who lives in, or passes through the area. The youngest of the three daughters is outwardly responsible, but as we later discover a totally weird control freak who tries some interesting methods of rehabilitating her irresponsible sisters. This is also the book where the character of Teddy Sapp; the bouncer at the local gay bar is introduced. Despite these disturbing characteristics it's one one of the better Spenser novels of the 90's. This particular installment of the original Parker series eschews much of the regular touchstones and very little of the scenes are set in his hometown of Boston. Also Hawk is pretty much non-existent as are Quirk and Belson; still it's an interesting divergence fro the norm and definitely worth taking a shot on.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Robert E. Stein
  • 02-11-10

Even Better than the Book!

I have always loved Parker's Spenser books, for the fast moving story, fun characters, and snappy dialogue. A new Spenser book is like catching up with old friends! Mantegna is so wonderful at the narration that I no longer want to read them. I'd rather listen! His nuanced performance and perfect timing increases my enjoyment to the point that I simply can't match it in my head. If you like the genre you simply can't go wrong with a Master like Parker.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard Delman
  • 25-06-12

Spenser sees the South.

Robert B. Parker is a master at what he does (or did), and Joe Mantegna is likewise a master of what he still does, thank goodness. This book takes Spenser to Lamar, Georgia, where he gets immersed in a murder whodunit and also gets a large dose of Southern Hospitality, something of an oxymoron. The plot moves along nicely, and once again Parker throws red herring after red herring. You just cannot guess the ending, and I won't divulge it. The story revolves around a horse breeding and racing operation, three sisters who have vastly different life stories, despite having one horrendous trauma in common, again a thing which I will let Joe Mantegna tell you. Mantegna is truly a gifted actor, and a marvelous audiobook narrator. The change of climate from Spenser's hometown, Boston, is a welcome diversion from the usual Parker yarn. He gets to pine away for Susan Silverman, which adds some poignance to the story. Readers of Parker will recognize that this is not his absolutely finest material, but better-than-average Parker is a bar which many other whodunit authors would kill to reach.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-02-18

What a relief

I was trying (unsuccessfully) to listen to the whole series after having read them out of order for the last 30 years, but David Dukes was too much for me to handle. Joe did a great job and I’m interested to hear how he does Hawk.

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  • Joe
  • 06-12-17

Good story entertaining to the end!

I always enjoy Joe montania as a narrator. I love the story , it keeps you entertained tThere's a little bit of humor in there it's a mystery and I just like the way the characters go about their business.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Peter
  • 01-06-17

Going through the motions

What was most disappointing about Robert B. Parker’s story?

This one dates to the end of Parker's career and I got the impression that he was getting very tired.

What does Joe Mantegna bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Mantegna is really excellent as Spenser - I've heard several others. His Black and Southern accents are good and he rarely falters even in rapid dialogue.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

There is still Parker's humour but Spenser's one-liners have nearly all been recycled many times.

Any additional comments?

A very thin performance all round. A painfully obvious plot padded out, Parker's 'late' dialogue which makes Hemingway look verbose and much more of the tiresome, insufferable Ms Silverman ("I'm a Harvard PhD, you know", for the thousandth time). As a Parker fan I lived in hope he was reserving a nasty fate for her but with his death that's not going to happen.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-05-17

Very enjoyable story.

The narrator did a great job! A very enjoyable story that helped eat up the miles while driving. I will listen to more of the Spencer series.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joel D. Webb
  • 17-01-17

hugger m u nnger

great story. I always love listening to Joe montego a narrate the stoies. his presentation fits the humor of the authors intent