(This page was published by Bob Ames in 2006.)

We are dealing with a literate crowd in these novels. I started this list by noting what our favorite gumshoe was reading but noticed that he was not the only one enriching his mind. I think this is complete but if you notice any omissions please call them to my attention.

Promised Land

  • Susan: "The Children of the Dream: Communal Child-Reading and American Education" by Bruno Bettelheim

The Judas Goat

  • Spenser: "Regeneration through Violence" by Richard Slotkin

Early Autumn

  • Spenser: "A Distant Mirror" by Barbara Tuchman.

A Savage Place

  • Spenser: "Play of the Double Senses: Spenser's Fairie Queen" by A. Bartlett Giamatti (later President of Yale)
  • Spenser: "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald.


  • Spenser: "Sartoris" by William Faulkner.
  • Spenser: An unnamed novel by John LeClair

The Widening Gyre

  • Spenser: "Legends of the Fall" by Jim Harrison.

Susan: "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck.

A Catskill Eagle

  • Jerry Costigan: A thick book by Karl Von Clausewitz. Probably "On War."
  • Spenser: "The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam" by Barbara W. Tuchman.
  • Spenser: "One Writer's Beginning" by Eudora Welty.
  • Spenser: "The Road Less Traveled" by M. Scott Peck.
  • Susan: "Psychoanalysis: The Impossible Profession" by Janet Malcomb.

Crimson Joy

  • Hawk: "Common Ground" by J. Anthony Lucas.


  • Spenser: "Season Ticket: A Baseball Companion" by Roger Angell.

Walking Shadow

  • Christopholous: "The Elizabethan World Picture" by E.M.W. Tillyard.
  • Hawk: "Race Matters" by Cornel West.

Thin Air

  • Leighton: "Mode of Being: The Tactical Personae of Men and Women in the Modern World" by Paul Weiss.


  • Hawk: "Remembering Denny" by Calvin Trillin.

Small Vices

  • Susan: (my guess) "Memory Wars: Freud's Legacy in Dispute" by Frederick Crews
  • Hawk: (my guess) "Black Lies, White Lies : The Truth According to Tony Brown" by Tony Brown

Widow's Walk

  • Hawk: "History of Britain" by Simon Schama.

Back Story

  • Hawk: "What Evolution Is" by Ernst Mayr
  • Hawk: "Einstein's Universe" by Nigel Calder

Bad Business

  • Spenser: "Rembrandt's Eyes" by Simon Schama
  • Spenser: "Genome" by Matt Ridley
  • Hawk: "The Teammates" by David Halberstam

Cold Service

  • Spenser: "Longitudes and Attitudes" by Thomas L. Friedman

You can look most of these up on to find out what they are about. I may expand this later but here are a couple of examples:

  • "Common Ground." - The 1986 Pulitzer Prize winning novel about racial relations and tensions in Boston during the sixties and *seventies, leading to the infamous troubles over forced bussing.
  • "The Road Less Traveled." - The 1978 book by Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck. In the era of "I'm OK, You're OK" Peck was courageous enough to suggest that "life is difficult" and personal growth is a "complex, arduous and lifelong task."