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The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling Hardcover – 1979

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 196 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394504178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394504179
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,917,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Bookseller, thief - Bernie Rhodenbarr can't resist the lure or a long lost Kipling poem, even if it is locked inside a millionaire's high security library. So Bernie goes browsing and sure enough he liberates the object in question...but also finds a dead redhead and is caught with the proverbial smoking gun by those boys in blue, who are ready to book Bernie for Murder One! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 May 2004
Format: Hardcover
Lawrence Block is one of our most talented mystery authors. In the Bernie Rhodenbarr series he explores how an ordinary, but intelligent, "honest" person might go about pursuing a life of crime as a fastidious and talented burglar who isn't proud of what he does, doesn't like to hang out with criminals, and really gets a big thrill out of breaking and entering . . . and removing valuables. As you can see, there's a sitcom set-up to provide lots of humor. But the humor works well in part because Mr. Block is able to put the reader in the Bernie's shoes while he breaks, enters and steals . . . and evades the long arm of the law. To balance the "honest" burglar is an array of "dishonest" and equally easy-money loving cops. As a result, you're in a funny moral never-never land while your stomach tightens and your arm muscles twitch as tension builds. To make matters even more topsy-turvy, Bernie at some point in every story turns into an investigator who must figure out "who-dun-it" for some crime that he personally didn't do. It's almost like one of those "mystery at home" games where the victim comes back as the police investigator, playing two roles. Very nice!
So much for explaining the concept of the series. The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling is the third book in the series. I strongly suggest that you begin the series by reading Burglars Can't Be Choosers and follow it up with The Burglar in the Closet. Each story in the series adds information and characters in a way that will reduce your pleasure of the others if read out of order. Although, I originally read them out of order and liked them well enough. I'm rereading them now in order, and like it much better this way. The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza comes next in the series.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 4 Dec. 1999
Format: Paperback
This installment of Block's 'Burglar' series takes another look into the world of Bernie Rhodenbarr, the most likeable thief you would wish to meet. In this episode, Rhodenbarr is required to steal a very rare Kipling book which is believed to be unique. However, when he goes to give the book to the person who has requested the theft, he is drugged by a beautiful woman and wakes up to find a smoking gun in his hand and the same woman dead on the floor with a gunshot wound, no rare book in sight and the police banging on the door. Bernie Rhodenbarr goes on the run to find the book and clear himself of suspicion for the murder. Lawrence Block has continued the theme set in 'Burglars can't be choosers' with a very similar plot. If you have read Block before, then you may be disappointed as there is a certain lack of thought about the way the plot twists and turns. However, the book is worth reading because of the main charactars fantastic pieces of dialogue especially with his main companion, the dizzy lesbian dog washer, Caroline. As crime fiction goes, I reckon Block is one of the best but if you are new to him, I would recommend one of the other titles in the 'Burglar' series such as 'The burglar in the Library' or 'The burglar who thought he was Humphrey Bogart'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sam Tyler on 20 Nov. 2006
Format: Paperback
'The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling' is the first novel by Lawrence Block that I have read and is unlikely to be the last, as it was great fun. Bernie Rhodenbarr is a career burglar who has decided to put up a legitimate front as a book seller. However, on the side he is offered the job to steal a rare Kipling book and get some easy money. Turns out the money was not that easy! He wakes up one book light and opposite the corpse of a woman. Can Bernie escape the police long enough to clear his name and make a profit?

The book itself is quite short and the story is average at best. The first two thirds are a joy to read but the book's conclusion leaves a lot to be desired. The pace quickens up too much and leaves you wondering exactly what is going on. Block would have been better served keeping the laid back and amusing pace that held him in good stead at the beginning.

What makes this book work are the characters. I had never read a Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery before but I came to love the character after only a few pages. This is great writing and makes an otherwise poor story noteworthy. As well as Bernie, the character of his side kick Carolyn is good too. She is a lesbian dog groomer that gives Bernie someone to run his ideas past and provides the everyman perspective needed to make the book work.

In hindsight I would have read an earlier adventure than this one as critics claim this not to be Block's best. However, if this is as bad as it gets I have a lot to look forward to as this was a short and fun read that was never the less, average.
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