Robert B. Parker's "Spenser" series is a detective series that began with "The Godwulf Manuscript" in 1973. Spenser, the main character, is a funny, street-smart private detective in Boston.
Spenser's first name hasn't been revealed, as of June 2015. The character is an athletic former boxer who served in the Korean War and later worked as a state trooper.
The series is known for its diverse characters. Spenser's close friend Hawk is African American, and the series also features characters who are Jewish, Mexican-American, Chinese, Russian and homosexual. Hawk, in particular, is one of the series' significant characters, as he is similar to Spenser but less moral.
Parker wrote 40 books in the series before dying of a heart attack in 2010. "Painted Ladies" was the final "Spenser" book released while he was alive. "Sixkill," the last "Spenser" book he wrote, was released posthumously in 2011. After his death, his estate allowed two of his series, including "Spenser," to continue.
Ace Atkins released his first "Spenser" book, "Lullaby," in 2012. He has since written multiple additional books in the series.
The popularity of the series led to a television show and multiple television movies. The show, "Spenser: For Hire," ran from 1985 to 1988 and starred Robert Urich as Spenser.