Melancholy Baby by Robert B. Parker is a crime novel. It is the fourth of six novels in the Sunny Randall series, thus far. However, it is not necessary to read the books in order. The detective, Sunny Randall, is the main character in each book. The other books may share parts of Sunny’s life, which would entice interest to read the other books. I like Sunny and would read the other books to delve into more of her life. She is a likable character.

I picked this book up at the library because it looked interesting. As I started reading, I noticed that most of the text is dialog, and the pages are thick. So I knew it wouldn’t take me long to finish the book. After I started reading another of the author’s books, Death in Paradise, I noticed that this is just his style with dialog and short chapters.

Melancholy Baby Synopsis

The primary focus of the Melancholy Baby is the Sarah Markham Case. However, there are two other aspects of the story that get a lot of attention also. They are Sunny’s feelings about her ex-husband getting remarried and the shared custody of their dog, Rosie.

Sunny Randall, the main character, is a private investigator. She and her husband, Richie, have been divorced for five years, and he recently got remarried. Even though she is the one that wanted the divorce, she doesn’t like the idea of him getting married to someone else. To help Sunny to figure out why she can’t live with anyone, except for her dog, she talks to a psychotherapist regularly. About two-thirds of the book is Sunny talking to her psychotherapist about her husband, her childhood, and the Sarah Markham case.

Sunny’s dog, Rosie, is a large part of the story in Melancholy Baby. Rosie is introduced on the first page, implying that she is Sunny and Richie’s child. Richie came over to his ex-wife’s house to pick up Rosie to take her for a few days, as per their shared custody agreement. Sunny’s family and friends also treat Rosie as if she was a part of their family. They all love and spoil her.

“He cut a small wedge of cutlet off and gave it to Rosie. She took it carefully from the fork and ate it.

“Daddy,” I said. “She’s not supposed to eat like that from the table.”

“I know,” my father said. “But I’m her grandfather. It’s permitted.” (page.256)

Sarah Markham Case

Sarah Markham is a college student who hires Sunny to find her biological parents. Her parents insist that she is not adopted; however, they will not get a DNA test to confirm it. Positive DNA results would close the case immediately. Since they refused a DNA test, there had to be some secrets.

Sunny’s first thought was that Sarah was lying. Sarah did not want to answer any questions. If Sunny was going to figure out Sarah’s birth parents, she needs to cooperate and give Sunny some information. Relentlessly, Sarah finally answered the questions.

There is some danger in the Melancholy Baby, but it doesn’t feel like danger. Some men beat Sarah and her boyfriend up and told her to stop the investigation of her parents. This incident seemed suspicious as if Sarah made it up.

“Well,” I said. “Somebody, for some reason, doesn’t want this investigation to go further. Can you imagine who that would be?”

Mr. Markham took in some air.

“Of course, Barbara and I would like it to stop. It is painful for us. But you can’t believe we would harm our own daughter.” (page 96)

My Analysis of Melancholy Baby

Later in the story in Melancholy Baby, murder happens. Why would someone murder people just because a young woman wants to find her birth parents? The calmness of the deaths mystified me while reading the story. The investigation throughout the book didn’t seem too dangerous. I kept thinking that there should be no one killed during this type of case.

Murder in the story surprised me because it was very calm before and after the killings. I felt that murdering people just did not go along with the story. Killing people in the story was no big deal. I would not call this book a thriller. The killings are matter-of-fact. It is not horrifying as I would think it should be.

I loved Rosie being part of the story because I love dogs, especially small dogs. She receives so much love and affection. It warms my heart to see people treat their pets like their own children.

The ending of Melancholy Baby wasn’t that great. The crime was solved, but still, a lot of unanswered questions remained. I would have liked to know more about what Sarah thought at the end. The information received during the investigation must have been a big shock to her. The author didn’t say anything about what happened to her afterward. The readers don’t even see much of how she reacted after hearing the truth.


I would recommend this book for people who like crime drama novels. Although it is a fast read, it had enough action in it to keep my attention. The story intrigued me to want to keep on reading to see what would happen next. I wanted to know how it would end.

Another great crime novel I did a book review was Tell Me by Lisa Jackson.

I enjoyed this book enough that I would like to read the other books in the series:

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