ROBERT B. PARKER – Night and Day. Jesse Stone #8. G. P. Putnam’s Sons, hardcover, 2009. Berkley, paperback reprint; 1st printing, February 2010.

   I’ve read about a third of Parker’s Spenser books, one of his with female PI Sunny Randall, but this is my first encounter with Jesse Stone, long time police chief of a small town called Paradise, somewhere not too far out from Boston. This one’s number eight of nine of Stone’s adventures Parker write before his death in 2010, although other hands have since taken over, with ten more having since appeared (more than Parker himself wrote!).

   The emphasis in Night and Day is that of sexual adventure, or misadventure to be more accurate, starting with a high school principal who is caught checking her female students’ (eighth graders) underwear before a school dance. It also seems that the women in Paradise are being stalked by a peeping tom before he escalates his nightly rounds to daytime home invasions in which he forces the women to strip while he takes their photos.

   And as they say, wait, wait, there’s more. A young girl comes in to complain that her parents are members of a very active group of swingers. All of this comes at the same time that Jesse’s ex-wife, with whom he still has close relations, leaves for a job in New York City with what we might call a very close mentor.

   The book is filled with many many pages of Parker’s trademarked witty dialogue, but I have to tell you I was expecting more. The paragraph above is all there is. It is tough to recommend a book, one purporting to be a mystery novel, when the stakes are as small as this, so guess what. I won’t.