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Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence…
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Burglars Can't Be Choosers (original 1977; edition 2004)

by Lawrence Block

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8301510,896 (3.67)51
Member:wjohnston
Title:Burglars Can't Be Choosers
Authors:Lawrence Block
Info:HarperTorch (2004), Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages
Collections:Your library, Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, mystery, crime, 2012, no_longer_owned

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Burglars Can't Be Choosers by Lawrence Block (1977)

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» See also 51 mentions

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“Imaginative persons could probably find interesting things to do with handcuffs and a nightstick.”

Cozies are fun, but every genre needs variety to stay interesting for the reader. The same old can get ... well, old after awhile. This book delivers that twist by having the main character be an unapologetic cat burglar who opens the book breaking into an apartment, enjoying it, and then getting caught up in a far worse crime.

It may be morally wrong, but the quirk works, especially since Bernie is fun. He has his criminal morals and decent values, despite his knack for theft, so remains likeable. Definitely not the typical doe-eyed cozy lead. The lead detective is as funny as Bernie himself.

Berney is a character not duplicated in many other cozies - I like the charm of them but this one brings a punch of fun, something different, a crossing of the moral lines, a little humor, first person POV.

I have to say this book has the funniest cozy body discovery I've read about - ever.

Mystery wise, it works since the MC gets clues, follows leads, gets misdirected and solves the mystery cleverly enough, stylish speech and all. This follows up with an end twist that I didn't see coming. And no, I didn't guess the culprit. Ms. Sherlock Holmes I am not. Looking back it makes sense but it's not something I noticed, so mystery kudos to the author.

If you enjoy fun but not obnoxiously sweet/sappy humor mysteries, you may like this one. I know Lawrence Block has a highly regarded reputation and these aren't considered his best. Still, enjoyed this intro to him here.

Definitely a series I'll continue reading. Appreciated the afterword from the author with the details of how he came up with the concept, funny how those ideas work. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
This is a terrific light mystery. The story is engaging and amusing, with a great ending. Looking forward the rest of the series. ( )
  grandpahobo | Sep 24, 2015 |
I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed good old Bernie. The flavor of Archie MacNally, but not quite so dapper. In oher words, an incredibly enjoyable anti-hero. ( )
  AliceAnna | Oct 18, 2014 |
Bernie might be a burglar but he isn't out to hurt anyone. So when he's approached to burgle an apartment for one specific item (a blue box -no not the Doctor's Blue Box), he figures it's easy money.

Well, it was until he's caught flat-footed by two flatfoots. Oh and then he finds an annoyingly dead guy though this one is in the bedroom at least, not the bathtub. ( )
  majkia | Sep 7, 2014 |
Block has a very low-key voice in his books & this audio was well done by Adams Morgan - the voice fits Bernie Rhodenbarr perfectly. Bernie is a nice guy who is just trying to get by in NYC like everyone else. His profession is as a burglar & he's a pretty good one, well liked by his neighbors ("Who cares if you take from the rich east side? You don't steal around here.") & the cops, who know he is reasonable about splitting profits.

He has a good thing going until his job is connected to a murder. Then Bernie has to figure out who the murderer is or else he's going to go away for it & he doesn't want to go back to prison again. He did that once & it just isn't his style. The company is atrocious.

The murder mystery is convoluted & wrapped up nicely at the end. A sharp reader can probably pick up all the clues & solve parts, but Bernie holds back a little to give the end a bit of twist.

Fun, but nothing remarkable. Great to listen to on my commute. On to the next! ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Aug 18, 2014 |
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A handful of minutes after nine I hoisted my Bloomingdale's shopping bag and moved out of a doorway and into step with a tall blond fellow with a faintly equine cast to his face.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060582553, Mass Market Paperback)

The latest in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series by multiple-award winner Block has Bernie underestimating the difficulty of breaking into a posh East Side apartment to steal a blue leather-covered box. No box, dead body, bum murder rap. Not so easy. The New York Times Book Review has called the Rhodenbarr books, "A witty series. Bernie is incorrigibly adorable. Between his inquiring mind and his sticky fingers, Bernie is the ideal sleuth."

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:25:27 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Now, we all know Bernie's the type of guy who likes to work alone. He finds the profits are higher and the risks a lot lower. But in Burglars Can't Be Choosers, Bernie finds that while he's no beggar, he's not above taking on a rare work-for-hire. It's simple, really. All he has to do is break into a posh East Side apartment, grab a blue leather-covered box, deliver it to his mysterious employer, and pocket a nice, easy fee. Well, nothing's ever that easy. No sooner is Bernie inside the apartment when things start to go wrong. Things like ... no blue box. Things like ... the police, led by his old nemesis, detective Ray Kirschmann. Things like ... the dead body in the bedroom. Things like ... being accused of murder.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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