Pen and Ink and magnifying Glass



This series of novels revolve around JP Parker, a 100 year old long time retired New York City private detective from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. The novels are his first person recollections as told to a young writer who is compiling them into book form. They deal with his most notable cases and the famous people who crossed his path.

Born in the early part of the 1900s Parker grew up in Brooklyn idolizing the Dodgers and was a good enough ballplayer to be able to advance part way through the minor leagues. After his dream of playing in Ebbetts Field died he became a cop for a while before going out on his own. Finally after many years of living alone after an mysterious unspoken injury put him into a wheelchair he becomes friends with a young writer 75 years his junior who helps him turn his memories into books. Their collaborations give him the chance to set the record straight on what really happened all those years ago.

#1 - Eye Of The Hurricane

Parker is hired by a has been movie actress to find her estranged husband to invite him to their daughter's wedding. Parker soon finds out that the given reason is just a cover for something very different. In the process he becomes involved with the rest of the strange family, their violence prone chauffeur, and a bizarre smuggling scam.

#2 - A Bad Risk

In this case what was supposed to be a routine investigation for an insurance company during the summer of 1945 instead reveals something disturbingly sinister. Unfortunately Parker has trouble finding someone willing to take him seriously in time to thwart a menacing international conspiracy. Three shocking final twists punctuate a case that not only has him falling in love, but also endangering both their lives as he tries to uncover a frightening plot hatched out of the closing days of WWII.

#3 - Black And White And Dead All Over

The detective's client is a millionaire business man who hires Parker to investigate his two sons. Surprisingly everything he discovers seems to revolve around their younger sister. What Parker eventually uncovers incurs the wrath of her vengeful ex-boyfriend, reveals the identity of the unwelcome new boyfriend, and exposes a mob-driven real estate deal. In a case that stretches all the way from a ride with Humphrey Bogart on his yacht "Santana" off the coast of LA to a deadly battle in the Louisiana Bayou, Parker manages to reveal the shocking secret that had remained hidden for over 20 years.

#4 - The Other Cheek

Parker is asked by an old friend to accompany him to Georgia to take care of the effects of his recently deceased brother. It doesn't take Parker long to realize that the relatively young brother didn't die of natural causes. Soon they're embroiled in a case that spans across the millennia all the way from the Vatican to New York to Georgia. What was the secret that his friend's brother was willing to die for and why are people from all over the world descending on one little southern town? And what is the surprising final twist that isn't revealed until the very last page?

#5 - Just Below The Surface

After impressing in a fund raising baseball game with the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbetts Field in early 1951, Parker is subsequently hired by their owner, Walter O'Malley, to locate a missing rookie pitcher. The job starts out easily but is soon complicated by the player's hidden past, a Pennsylvania town with dark secrets, and the rookie's beautiful, but troubled, widowed mother. Before long Parker is blackmailed into assisting the FBI in a case that, if mishandled, has the potential to set off WWIII. In a wild finale that stretches from Pennsylvania to Maine to far out at sea in the Atlantic Ocean, Parker willingly gives up his chance for happiness with the woman he loves to try to thwart a threat against the United States.

#6 - Reel Life Real Death

It's 1952 and Parker has retired. He and his new bride, Doris, move from Manhattan for part of the year to LA where she's working as a novelist and a scriptwriter. The easy life they'd planned together, however, doesn't last long. A movie star's husband talks Parker out of retirement to find out who has been blackmailing his wife about a dangerous secret from her past. Reluctantly he takes the case and quickly finds himself involved with a score of irrational movie people, a vindictive newpaper columnist, and The House Un American Activities Committee, before uncovering the nine year old secret that had the potential to ruin careers and bring down a major studio.

#7 - Out of His Past

Parker continues to fail retirement. This time he's hired by his best friend, after the tragic death of his wife, to find a mysterious woman from his past. As a result JP and Doris are pulled into a confusing mix of family relationships, decades of secrets, organized crime, and murder. That combined with difficulties in their marriage stretch the detective in ways he could have never expected.

#8 - The Final Stage

With Doris involved in out of town previews for a new play she's written JP reopens his detective business, much to his wife's disapproval, and gets his first paying client in 18 months. The case to find a woman's missing finance quickly veers into something much more complicated when JP suddenly finds himself embroiled in a dizzying mix of international politics, spies, and murder. Further complicated by a glamorous movie actress with eyes for JP, an actor showing too much interest in Doris, and JP's dangerous occupation, the Parker's 15-month marriage is put to the test.

#9 - One Bad Turn

In this case, a New York City Congressman, despite disapproval from his family and staff, hires JP to provide some extra security. But before the detective can begin work he and Doris are called to Michigan to take care of her sickly uncle. While they're away a murder occurs back home that Parker thinks he could have prevented. Feeling guilty he begins looking into the crime as soon as they return. Soon the detective is dragged deeper and deeper into a treacherous combination of both government and family secrets, a criminal cover-up, and more murder. One Bad Turn is a mix of a decade of lies, a surprising love story, and dangerous confrontations in three states that threaten, not only JP, but also those closest to him.

#10 - Oh Slay Can You Sea?

In the sequel to Out Of His Past, the Parkers use some of the money Doris has made from her writing to buy a small summer cottage at the Jersey shore. Within two weeks after moving in Doris and JP are pulled into a complex jumble of organized crime, cover-ups, lies, ruined careers, long buried family secrets, illegal gambling, and murder. This bewildering combination of seemingly unrelated events puts the detective and his wife into the most desperate situation of their lives. And if that's not enough, an indiscretion by Doris makes their difficult circumstances even worse. Oh Slay, Can You Sea? shows how one event can effect multiple generations, which is why it takes over 50 years before the final piece of the puzzle is revealed.

#11 - Follow the Money

Parker is hired by his long-time attorney, Annie Cleghorn, when an old client of hers, currently serving a life sentence for murder, finally agrees to reveal the alibi that he's inexplicably kept secret for 16 years. After travelling upstate to see him in prison their efforts are derailed by his suspicious suicide. This investigation then drags them into a second murder mystery and a complex mix of financial malfeasance, murder, family secrets, a radical militia, politics, and terrorism. Simultaneously, when JP and his wife's attempt to adopt a child doesn't go smoothly Doris makes a fateful decision that has the potential to destroy their young marriage. While desperately trying to resolve everything the detective is uncomfortably forced to confront his true feelings for the woman he thought he loved.

#12 - Bad Publicity

After surprisingly getting a second chance to play Minor League baseball in 1954, Parker's opportunity is interrupted by a murder and he is immediately drawn into the case. Meanwhile, his biographer, Freddy, is surprisingly pulled into a 21st century mystery of his own. The young writer soon gets in over his head, not only by trying to be a detective, but also with complicated relationships with three very different women. As Parker relates his frustration of never completely solving the old case, his writing partner dangerously (and secretly) spirals into a desperate mix of lies, politics, and murder. What ties the two ostensibly unrelated murders together? What seemingly unrated clue has to wait over 50 years to be revealed? In both cases Parker and Freddy are not only dragged into murder, but also frightening combinations of spies, international finance, and terrorism.

#13 - Disappearing Donna

Disappearing DonnaIn a story narrated by his wife, Doris, Parker is hired by a high school boy to look into the sudden mysterious disappearance of his older sister. With the investigation yielding very little about the college girl, Parker and his wife instead become intrigued about the childrens' odd parents. Does their personal politics, odd late night meetings, and friends have anything to do with what happened to their daughter? Along the way Parker and Doris also encounter a flamboyant minister, FBI agents, and a vengeful police detective. In what way are these people involved in the mystery of the missing college girl or is there something even bigger going on? When the case soon veers off in ways neither could have anticipated, including murder, the Parkers find their lives seriously threatened as they work together to find the real reason for Disappearing Donna.

#14 - Cry Uncle

Cry Uncle CoverThis time Parker is hired by his old friend (eccentric scientist and artist), Sam Quisenbury, to act as a body guard when Sam picks up some top secret materials from the government. When the exchange doesn't go smoothly Parker also learns that the long-time bachelor has become involved with a mysterious woman. After the detective's con man ex father-in-law also hires him, Parker finds himself drawn into, not one but two, secret government projects. How are these seemingly unrelated people and everts tied together? How can the private detective get to the bottom of the complicated mess when no one will tell him the truth? In a case that takes him across the country to risk his life for a friend, Parker becomes involuntarily involved with the FBI, terrorists, organized crime, and murder.

#15 - Practice to Deceive

Practice to DeceiveThis sequel to The Other Cheek is a previously unknown book narrated by Parker's wife, Doris. In it Parker is hired by a woman to find her kidnapped son. Realizing that his new client is misleading him Parker tries to find out why and this sends him back to a case that involved a potentially valuable missing artifact. Suddenly having to again deal with Neo-Nazis, Parker is also dragged into a cold case murder, mysterious groups of changing alliances willing to do anything to obtain the artifact, and the shocking reason the boy was abducted. Trying to protect JP, Doris also keeps a secret inadvertently endangering those she loves. Meanwhile, Parker's 21 st Century writing partner, Freddy, and his girlfriend, Sandra, are getting serious. However, before he can propose, Freddy gets disturbing news from a former girlfriend. How are all these events related?

#16 - Jazz Doesn't Resolve

Jazz Doesn't ResolveParker is hired by a musician friend to find his missing girlfriend. Things soon go off the rails when the detective finds that several shady groups, as well as the FBI, are also looking for her. The investigation is further complicated when the private investigator's wife, Doris, is forced to reveal a desperate decision from her past. How does her 10 year old indiscretion surprisingly fit with the case? What is the secret scientific project involving the musician's girlfriend that is ultimately putting many lives, including Parker's and Doris', in danger? Why are people from all over the world searching for a valuable missing item? What are the two interrelated mysteries? In a case that veers from sleazy businesses to spies to murder, what are the final three twists that aren't revealed until the last chapters?

#17 - All The Hiding Places

All The Hiding Places coverIn another manuscript written by his late wife, Doris, Parker is hired in 1955 to investigate a business man's suicide. The only unusual item is the detective's recently deceased father's name appearing in the dead man's financial records. This misfitting piece sends Parker and Doris on a wild adventure involving money laundering, kidnapping, assault, death, and the detective's Native American relatives. Meanwhile, in the present day, Parker's writing partner, Freddy, retrieves an old, apparently very valuable, item from a storage unit. When others learn about it, Freddy and his wife, Sandra, are pulled into a frightening mix of lies and murder. While both the retired PI and the young writer are forced to rely heavily on their wives, they also learn surprising things about themselves.

#18 - Under Their Spell

Under Their Spell cover It's 1956 and, as the Brooklyn Dodgers prepare to defend their world championship, Parker is hired by a woman to rescue her son who has become involved with low-level mobsters. At the same time, the detective's wife, Doris, finds herself being harassed and threatened due to articles she's written in her New York Times' op-ed column regarding the possibility of the Dodgers moving their franchise. Soon the two situations overlap and plunge the couple into a strange combination of gambling, hypnotism, murder, and dealing with city's new mafia boss. The attempt to sort it all out requires help from all their sources; Lawyer Annie Cleghorn, retired Inspector Ralph Klein, technical whiz Sam Quisenbury, and Pastor Liam Coughlin and his librarian wife, Mavis in order to put their lives back together.

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That's enough about my books, now about me!

More Travels With Susie

This sequel to my previous book “You Can Get There From Here”, which chronicled my initially inept attempts at travel, picks where the last one left off. “More Travels With Susie” is just what it sounds like as my wife and I continue to burn through our daughter's inheritance. These trips of ours, which began somewhat modestly in 1976 on our honeymoon, have slowly become more ambitious and, at times, definitely took us on the road less travelled. As with the first book, however, you're probably not going to learn anything particularly useful and the information contained about our different destinations is far from comprehensive. My hope is simply that you'll be entertained by our somewhat unfocused wanderings and enjoy the interesting (to us anyway) and amusing stories about surprises that we encountered along the way.

Growing Up Nerd

Growing Up NerdGrowing Up Nerd is a collection of memories about my childhood that was spent in both the New York City suburb of Westchester County and at the New Jersey shore. It covers from about age 6 through my high school graduation in 1965. The stories range from lighthearted topics like collecting baseball cards, early TV, and sports to more serious ones such as how to make a way through the complexities of friendships and school while trying to find one's true self. The specifics might be unique to me, but anyone who was once young and naïve will recognize them.

Radio Daze

Radio DazeRadio Daze is a description of what might have been my mid-life crisis when I left a stable, secure career as a high school math teacher for a job in broadcasting. It details my experiences in radio (and a little TV) that started in college and then, after an 18-year break, continued until I was almost 50. Included are stories of good and bad bosses, eccentric and funny colleagues, strange business decisions, and the general chaos of being live on the air every day. While the specifics might be unique to me, the book makes it clear that broadcasting is a medium that attracts a very unusual group of people.

Left Overs

LeftoversIn “Growing Up Nerd” Bob wrote about his childhood through high school and in “Radio Daze” he covered his career in broadcasting. Having enjoyed those books several folks asked for more. Their comments led to “Leftovers”. These remaining stories deal with Bob's career in teaching, his years making music with his guitar, and his theater experiences. With regard to teaching he talks about funny students and amusing colleagues. In music you'll hear about his playing solo as well as his experiences with several musical partners and groups. The theater section contains a collection of tales about many of the plays Bob's been in over the years. While he's never made a lot of money or achieved what some folks might think of as great success, Bob has had quite a number of funny and, well, just plain weird experiences that should give you a smile.

You Can Get There From here

LeftoversI'd always wanted to travel, except that I didn't know it. After graduating from college, getting a job, and setting out on my own, I made some sporadic attempts to see some of the world. It took a while to figure out how and it was only after I got married that the two of us came upon a strategy that worked. This book is a collection of stories about my mostly modest opportunities to travel. This is not a how-to book. There will be no listings of the best places to go. You will not find even a slightly comprehensive guide to locations, National Parks, interesting cities, countries, or anything else particularly useful. However, I hope you will find some interesting and amusing stories about surprises that Susie and I encountered along the way.

Random Stories

Random Stories coverApparently unable to stop writing about himself, the memoir Random Stories follows Bob's childhood tales in Growing Up Nerd, his career in broadcasting in Radio Daze, experiences in theater, teaching, and music in Leftovers, and two books about travel with You Can Get There From Here and More Travels With Susie. These new stories range widely from his first plane flight, to Chicken Pox, to buying a house, to insurance company dramas, and to grandchildren with many stops in between. Most of the text is lighthearted, but a few of the short chapters deal with weightier topics such as sexual harassment and our political divide. Without much tying one story to another the reader has the option of simply picking titles from the table of contents. Due to the small nature of each chapter a better title might have been The Bathroom Reader. Sadly, that title has already been chosen by someone else.

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Bob Stanhope
67 South Lake Drive
Patterson, NY 12563

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