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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernie, the Bookman, Buys In
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...
Published on 3 May 2004 by Donald Mitchell

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best from Block, but still better than the rest.
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...
Published on 4 Dec 1999


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernie, the Bookman, Buys In, 3 May 2004
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling (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.
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling introduces two major changes into the series, both of them favorable. Bernie is now the proprietor of Barnegat Books in Greenwich Village, which features used hard cover books, some of which are collectibles. After one of his big heists, he has enough to buy the store, which he used to patronize. The former owner heads off to Florida, leaving Bernie with something to do with his spare time. In this book, Bernie mainly spends his time in the store reading. He's not quite sure whether he makes any money or not, but he likes being around the books . . . and he hopes to meet interesting women. With this change, the series shifts to having a bookish angle that I find delightful.
The second major change is that Bernie now has a friend, Carolyn Kaiser, who provides an offbeat offset to Bernie's burglaries. She runs The Poodle Factory, where she grooms dogs for a living (while preferring cats in her private life). She and Bernie share lunches, dinners, drinks and good times together. But it's not boy and girl. Carolyn's romantic interests don't run toward men. As a result, you get a sort of Nick and Nora Charles element without the sexual element affecting the couple. It works really well. Mr. Block successfully experimented with having a female sidekick for Bernie in The Burglar in the Closet, but the romantic development showed that it would be hard to sustain in subsequent books so he wisely ended that relationship. This one, on the other hand, can be easily sustained based on mutual interests and friendship.
As the book opens, Bernie's trying to convince everyone that he's gone straight, including his crooked cop friend, Ray Kirschmann, who wants to hire Bernie to lift a mink coat for his wife. Then Bernie gets an invitation to lunch at an exclusive club and learns about a rare and obscure work of Rudyard Kipling's with an anti-Semitic slant that someone wants stolen. Bernie can't resist, and the fun begins! Although the burglary is difficult enough, the aftermath soon has Bernie on the run. Carolyn's pressed into helping him, and the misunderstandings and confusion quickly mount. The puzzle's a deliciously complex one, and you'll enjoy seeing unraveled by Bernie (with a little help from his burglar's tools). You'll find the puzzle to be a nice step up from the ones in the first two books in the series. This is definitely a five-star effort and promises many good things to come.
This book's theme comes down to things not always being as they seem. I came away starting to question a lot more of my assumptions about whether appearances are honest representations of reality.
Look hard for the Potemkin village, wherever you are or whatever you are doing!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best from Block, but still better than the rest., 4 Dec 1999
By A Customer
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Great characters - pity about the conclusion, 20 Nov 2006
By 
'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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5.0 out of 5 stars PURE GOLD!!! PURE GOLD!!!, 21 Mar 2014
By 
Greggorio! (Amazing Australia) - See all my reviews
This book is yet another riotous romp through the moonlit streets of New York City with the world’s greatest and funniest unofficial tour guide. The book opens with Bernie giving career guidance to a would be shoplifter who happens to grace his bookstore with his presence. Not only does he give the offender some moral instruction but some life changing advice as well. Even during the opening chapter of this fine opus, the reader can see how much fun Mr Block is having and as always, this infectious disease we call fun can be caught by simply picking up and turning on your kindle. Bernie is as fun, lively, witty and intelligent as ever; the gang is back with Ray the Crooked Cop and soul mate Carolyn Kaiser and a mad scattering of innocent bystanders and victims. Bernie’s first task is to locate a mink coat for Crooked Ray’s wife. Ahhh, true love. The catch is, Bernie is now straight (!) but Ray wont believe him. Cop’s instinct coming to the fore again….

One gets the feeling, however, that this mission will soon be delegated to secondary status. And it is, but like any other Bernie Book, the joy is in the reading and the discovering (and the laughing) and there is no shortage of any of these qualities in this fine tome. Lawrence Block is known around the world for his crime novels. Over time he has developed the skill and ability to create genres within genres and the Bernie series is a fine example. Book three of this extraordinary sub-genre is a must read for fans of the great man and a good entry point for newbies, even though for maximum enjoyment I would recommend they start with book one – BURGLARS CANT BE CHOOSERS and then progress (in joyful bewilderment)....

It goes without saying (then why did I just say it?) that I award this book full marks.

BFN Greggorio!!!
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The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling by Lawrence Block (Hardcover - 1979)
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