Friday, March 6, 2020

Review: The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian

The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian by Lawrence Block
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bookstore owner/professional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr returns home from a successful night of stealing on to find his best friend Carolyn in a desperate state in his apartment. Someone has taken Carolyn’s pet cat from her apartment and is now demanding a ridiculous amount of money to return the feline. It quickly becomes clear that the catnapper was trying to get Bernie to pull a job by going through Carolyn, but stealing a Mondrian painting from a museum is a bit much for a humble burglar. However, Bernie has the bright idea to steal another Mondrian from an apartment he was just in. What could possibly go wrong?

There’s all the usual things to like in this series with witty conversations and clever schemes to break into places. However, the plot gets incredibly complex and even after Bernie has laid it all out at the end I’m not sure I fully understand what happened which feels like too much in a book that features a kidnapped cat. It also seems like a cheat that a lot of the explanation brings in characters we haven’t even seen in the novel until that point.

Still, it’s Lawrence Block doing his thing with Bernie and Carolyn so there’s a lot to like. Block fans will also probably notice that this involves art, stamp collecting, and jogging which are all subjects he’s interested in that have come up in other books.

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