The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling by Lawrence Block
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Professional thief Bernie Rhodenbarr is trying to go legit by buying a book store, but that’s a tough way to make the rent even back in the days before Amazon. So when Bernie gets an offer to swipe a rare volume of Kipling verses for a hefty payday he’s more than willing to start picking locks again.
However, what should be a simple exchange of the book for the cash goes sideways, and Bernie finds himself on the run from the cops after being framed for murder. He’ll need all of his criminal skills and some help from his best friend Carolyn to get out of this one.
As I’ve stated on other reviews I’m a huge fan of Lawrence Block, but this series wasn’t my favorite thing he’s done although I quite enjoyed The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons. I think it’s because while Bernie is a thief the books generally revolve around him playing amateur sleuth rather than actually being about his profession. Still, there’s a charming low-key quality to these, and I always enjoy Block’s casual dialogue where characters often ramble and make amusing observations about life’s quirks.
I liked this the most of the early ones I’ve read because it introduced Carolyn, the lesbian dog groomer who is the person that Bernie can count on most and vice versa. Their friendship is one of the things I’ve most enjoyed about the series.
Overall, it’s a solid mystery with a good sense of humor, and Block always makes a character just trying to navigate the treacherous waters of daily life in New York City a treat to read.
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