To celebrate his 25th anniversary as Boston’s preeminent private eye, Spenser takes two pro bono cases as favors to his nearest and dearest. To oblige his buddy Hawk, he agrees, much against his inclinations, to return to the groves of academe, the scene of his very first adventure, The Godwulf Manuscipt, in order to investigate Prof. Robinson Nevins’s claim that he was denied tenure because of a conspiracy that included rumors Nevins vigorously denies of his relationship with Prentice Lamont, a gay graduate student who edited OUTrageous, a newsletter whose mission is to out higher-profile gays, until Lamont’s suicide six months ago. At the same time, as a favor to his favorite shrink, Susan Richman, Spenser looks into the claims of Susan’s friend KC Roth that somebody—probably not her ex-husband Burton Roth, certainly, certainly not her ex-lover Louis Vincent—is stalking her. The Nevins case will bring Spenser up against Parker’s favorite adversaries, the spineless bullies who spread fear and misiniformation from their faculty offices and an enterprising group of racists who campaign uncompromisingly against African Americans, gays, and anybody else who might adulterate the Aryan gene pool. But it’s the Roth case, whose complainant is such a pathologically clinging vine that identifying her predator may be the least of Spenser’s problems, that may pose the greatest dangers for its venerable hero. Not by any means a high point in the series (Sudden Mischief, 1998, etc.), but still a guaranteed return on your time and attention.