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The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams (Bernie Rhodenbarr #6)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  2,156 Ratings  ·  104 Reviews
Bernie Rhodenbarr is actually trying to earn an honest living. It's been an entire year since he's entered anyone's abode illegally to help himself to their valuables. But now an unscrupulous landlord's threat to increase Bernie's rent by 1,000% is driving the bookseller and reformed burglar back to a life of crime -- though, in all fairness, it's a very short trip. And wh ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by HarperTorch (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

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Sep 29, 2014 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being the sixth confession of career burglar and occasional inadvertent detective Bernard Rhodenbarr, occasionally confused with Whoopie Goldberg

Witty banter expert, reformed burglar, secondhand bookstore proprietor Bernie is back, and so is his lesbian sidekick, pet groomer extraordinaire Carolyn, facing off with grubby little policeman Ray once more, and yes, there is another dead body and yes Bernie is going to do all the work for Ray again. That's the formula folks!

The banter really is witty
Apr 28, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
After reading a later book in the series ("The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart"), I decided to read an earlier one. In this case, the low-hanging fruit proved to be one that also set up certain key facts in the life and "career" of the protagonist.

Like the previous sample, I found it to be a fun read. The plot is complex enough but not overly difficult with good side-ventures and the writing is witty and good. Again, I would classify the book as "lighter fiction" one that reads easily and sedu
Richard White
Dec 05, 2013 Richard White rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
And the hits just keep on coming. Thoroughly entertaining.
Susan Hulstine
Dec 26, 2013 Susan Hulstine rated it really liked it
In the genre of cozy mysteries, Block is the master. My favorite line: Bernie is talking about the phenomena of depression in women poets and he calls it "Edna St. Vincent Malaise." I laughed out loud. Some of the witty banter became a little too much at times, but overall a fun read and Block accomplishes what the book sets out to do: tickle the funny bone while delivering a light mystery; it's chewing gum for the mind.
Mar 10, 2017 Christian rated it really liked it
It's been a while since I picked up a Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery, but the gentleman burglar never disappoints. This one is particularly packed with high-stakes intrigue and low-brow comedy. The running-gag about Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone/Alphabet series is particularly entertaining (I mean, come one, how do you not laugh at "D is for Cup"?)

Feb 20, 2014 Monnie rated it really liked it
Yes, the formula is the same: New York bookstore owner and more-than-occasional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr plies his usually nighttime trade, finds a dead body. Bernie gets accused of break-in and murder. Bernie (with some help from pet groomer-friend Carolyn and, this time, his bookstore cat Raffles), is forced to solve the murder to keep himself out of jail.

In this one, he's also trying to keep his bookstore intact; his landlord, it seems, is threatening to raise the rent so high that Bernie wi
Megan Baxter
Oct 15, 2011 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
This was a reread. A many many times reread. The Burglar Who books are comfort reads for me, something to read while I'm eating or just want something fun and a little light.

Which is not to dismiss the series - the mysteries are solid, the writing good and occasionally great. Lawrence Block is a master of the mystery, and I do enjoy this lighter series more than the gritty Matthew Scudder series. (The few he has that are more or less a spoof of the Nero Wolfe books are also very fun.)

In this one
I laughed myself silly over the mangling of Sue Grafton titles! Bernie really tried not to go back to burglary, but it happened anyway. And I got to learn more about used book pricing and the insane prices of some vintage baseball cards. The publisher's blurb gives hints and there is no need for spoilers, just enjoy the unraveling of the mystery!
Richard Ferrone continues to be perfect as narrator for this series.
Crzy D
May 01, 2013 Crzy D rated it really liked it
I might as well confess now. I have a weakness for 'series'... esp characters who are butting into other people's businesses reluctantly! So by the same logic I love Lincoln Rhymes, Ms Braun's Koko etc etc. But This was my first of Rhodenbarr's and I think might be adding to my list of series. I picked on a whim, looking for something light and quick, a snack of a book, and it dint disappoint me one bit. No nasty after taste. And I love the wry tone and the snide side observations and of course, ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Ed rated it really liked it
#6 in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series.

Burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr series - The amiably larcenous Bernie has been trying his best to reform, living the quiet life of a Greenwich Village bookseller. But now his new landlord has jacked up the rent, and Bernie, hoping to avoid eviction, figures one more burglary might just do the trick. Opportunity comes knocking, and Bernie walks in, after picking the lock, of course; it looks like a piece of cake until he finds a dead body in the bathroom. Meanwhile, a
Jul 14, 2009 Gregory rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction-mystery
As usual, I enjoy these books for the humor, characters, and burglarizing aspects as much as for the overall story. The core story itself may not have been the strongest in the series but it was still highly entertaining. There was lots of fun with plays on the titles of Sue Grafton's most popular series and speculation (mostly by Bernie's gal pal) as to whether or not Grafton's heroine Kinsey is "hopefully" a lesbian (Block partially dedicated the book to Grafton).

This book bridges Bernie's li
Jun 22, 2012 Mark rated it really liked it
Lawrence Block never disappoints. This guy writes in a variety of genres under various names. His main lines of work are the hard-boiled Matt Scudder detective novels (literary, serious, violent) and the flip side--the Bernie Rhodenbarr "burglar" series (light-hearted, funny, ingenious.) Both series are equally good--beautifully worked out plots that surprise and (in the case of "burglar") delight, memorable characters, literary resonance.

This one has to do with a naked body found in a locked ba
Harry Lane
Aug 15, 2016 Harry Lane rated it liked it
Bernie Rhodenbarr is a likable rascal whose forte is burglary. This outing finds him trying to walk the straight and narrow, but alas, circumstances draw him into his old ways. And then circumstance piles upon coincidence in one thing after another that will have you smiling the whole way through the book.
Lynn Kearney
Mar 08, 2010 Lynn Kearney rated it really liked it
One of the best - with the welcome addition of Carolyn Kaiser, Bernie's best friend, the lesbian pet groomer!
Donald McEntee
Mar 10, 2017 Donald McEntee rated it really liked it
Funny without a sense of guilt. Very well-crafted.
Matt Allen
Sep 29, 2014 Matt Allen rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014-reads
It's been a while since I've read a Bernie book, but Block is back in typical Rhodenbarr form with this one. It's fun, it's fast, and outside of an ending that didn't do much memorable, it's probably just what fans of the series are looking for.

I really loved the first half of this one. It was whip-fast, the dialogue doing wonderful tricks, the pace a Block specialty, and the characters shining with the touch of a master. It really was delightful, and there was more than a few laughs and writing
Sep 23, 2013 Lobo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Annak ellenére, hogy valaki ceruzával beleírta a könyvtári példányomba, hogy Belene kezdj! Tök szar! (egy másik valaki meg kijavította tollal az első szót, hogy “Külön írandó!“) ez egy tökéletes Bernie kötet. Kezdjük ott, hogy már ajánlásban is szerepel Sue Grafton és végigvonul az egész regényen szinte az összes regényére való hivatkozás az adott időpontig (1994-es az eredeti történet) az ABC sorozatból. Sőt Carolyn és Bernie eszmecseréje Kinsey szexuális beállítottságáról külön említésre méltó ...more
Nov 16, 2014 Teri-k rated it really liked it
I read these books years ago and rally enjoyed them, then kind of forgot about them until recently. Now I'm revisiting them. And let me assure you, when a Bernie Rhodenbarr book is good, it's very, very good. And this one definitely is good. There are fun scenes of him in his used book store; acquiring a cat - as an employee, not a pet; and hanging out with his dog groomer friend, Carolyn. Life is good for Bernie. In fact, this book opens with him firmly planted on the straight and narrow, as he ...more
Jason Edwards
Jan 05, 2017 Jason Edwards rated it it was ok
I wish I had given the previous Bernie book 2.5 stars instead of 2, so I could give this one two stars and not worry that folks will think one's as good as the other. Cause they're not. Mondrian is an okay book, but Ted Williams suffers from too much of the same-old same-old, and rests on its own laurels, and is too confusing and convenient.

Too many coincidences, distracting me the whole time, and I was just waiting for it all to explained to me at the end. And when the big explanation does come
May 20, 2014 Hal rated it it was amazing
Lawrence Block is the master of snappy dialogue and street-smart lingo. His books are like a delicious desert: fun, tasty but not especially nourishing over time. I enjoy them as escapist literature that gives me a break from day to day life.

We really only get to know one character, Bernie the Burglar. The other actors in his stories are more or less props to make Bernie look good.

Although the Bernie series is light reading, I must say I admire all the research that Bock puts into his novels to
Bobby Mathews
Aug 15, 2016 Bobby Mathews rated it it was amazing
First, I laughed out loud at Bernie's drunken fart ramble early on in the book ...

As I read through, I thought -- well, okay, the formula's wearing thin. That's all right, because it's essentially a genre mystery. The formula is part of what makes them reliable reading. Bernie is good company. You don't necessarily come for the complexity of the plot. You read about Bernie because he, and Carolyn, and to an extent, Ray, are good company.

But the end of the book pushed this to five stars. You don
Mar 24, 2014 Bearcatgary rated it it was ok
This was my first Lawrence Block book ever. I choose this particular book because I collect baseball cards so I thought I'd find it interesting. This book was written in 1994 and it have become very dated in 20 the past 20 years. Not only has the baseball card hobby changed dramatically, but so has technology.

The main reason I gave it only 2 stars is that it felt like the author was making up the story as he put it down on paper, without any thoughts to how details would be resolved. That type o
Aug 13, 2009 Mazel marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: policier
L'infâme cambrioleur/bouquiniste Bernie Rhodenbarr a juré de ne plus pénétrer chez autrui.

Lorsqu'il apprend que les Gilmartin se rendront au théâtre un soir de la semaine suivante...

il lutte, essaie de penser à autre chose.

La tentation revient lorsque la belle Gwendolyn Cooper l'informe que les Nugent sont partis en Europe et que donc...

C'en est trop, Bernie capitule, Mais dans l'appartement, c'est un cadavre qu'il découvre. Son vieil ennemi, l'inspecteur Ray, l'attend chez lui et l'arrête.
Rene Natan
Oct 16, 2013 Rene Natan rated it really liked it
As usual, the author offers a nice recipe for mystery. He starts with a corrupted cop, an antagonistic businessman, a patron of the arts, a beautiful (but tricky) woman, the owner of a shop for grooming pets, a young crook, and a Manx cat with the name of the famous amateur cracksman (Raffles). Then he adds a murder and a few burglaries (or attempts thereof), thus creating an atmosphere full of anticipation. But who has done what and why? Bernie Rhodenbarr, professional gentleman burglar and ama ...more
Jan 07, 2012 Duckpondwithoutducks rated it really liked it
These mystery novels by Lawrence Block featuring Bernie Rhodenbarr, a burglar cum bookseller, are always funny. You can very much see the influence of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels, with the wry narrator and final gathering of the suspects to solve the crime. Each one is very like the other, Bernie being wrongly accused of a crime, but not being able to prove that he didn't do it, because at that time he was burgling, and that's not a very good alibi - if you admit to that, you'll go to jail any ...more
Nov 04, 2011 Sorcha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Bernie - a year straight and running his bookstore - is confronted by his landlord who wants to raise his rent to an unpayable level.[return][return]MEanwhile, he is tempted back into burglary, and gets caught up in robberies he didnt commit, dead bodies in locked-from-the-inside bedrooms, blugaries he DOES commit (but manages to pin on someone else), and all whilst having witty banter with his lesbian best friend and the cop who knows what he does, just can pin anything on him[return][return]Sh ...more
Nov 05, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
The title character is a book seller and an accomplished burglar. In this story, Bernie has not burgled for a year and when he is not bungling, Bernie seems to lead a quiet, perhaps boring, life. As the title may hint, the story centers on a collection of baseball cards. There is also a murder in a locked room. The repartee between Bernie and his best friend gets close to being tedious from time to time, but all in all, and like the other installments, an entertaining read that does not tax your ...more
May 08, 2010 Maura rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I highly recommend this one. Eric introduced me to the Bernie Rhodenbarr series back during my first Spring Training trip, so it seemed only appropriate to grab this one for my second such adventure. read this on the way back, after another book wasn't really grabbing me -- i knew this would be satisfying. and it was. witty, sarcastic mystery from the point of view of a sympathetic burglar. or reformed burglar. or almost reformed burglar. it's so hard to say. :) pretty similar to the Dortmunder ...more
Number 6 in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series, "The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams" stays true to the formula for the previous stories: Bernie Rhodenbarr is a stealth buglar with ethics. This round Bernie becomes involved with a collection of valuable baseball trading cards. If you are a fan of this light read series, you'll be relieved to learn that this novel remains as entertaining and complex as the others, with characteristic Rhodenbarr-esque plot twists and turns.
Jeff Dickison
Mar 11, 2015 Jeff Dickison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fun book written with tongue firmly in cheek. Block writes of the baseball card collecting scene as it was in 1995; driven by money with no real love of the cards or the game of baseball. Of course such a scenario could not last and the hobby imploded. There are still a great many collectors but most are not driven by greed. The story was well written and the finale is well done. Recommended.
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Received the Shamus Award, "The Eye" (Lifetime achievment award) in 2002.

From his web site:

I'm told every good author website needs a bio, so here's mine:

"Lawrence Block's novels range from the urban noir of Matthew Scudder (A Drop of the Hard Stuff) to the urbane effervescence of Bernie Rhodenbarr (The Burglar on the Prowl), while other characters include the globe-trotting insomniac Evan Tanne
More about Lawrence Block...

Other Books in the Series

Bernie Rhodenbarr (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #1)
  • The Burglar in the Closet (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #2)
  • The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #3)
  • The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #4)
  • The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #5)
  • The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #7)
  • The Burglar in the Library (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #8)
  • The Burglar in the Rye (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #9)
  • The Burglar on the Prowl (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #10)
  • The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #11)

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“I haven't got anything against cats. I haven't got anything against elk either, but that doesn't mean I'm going to keep one in the store so I'll have a place to hang my hat.” 12 likes
“I thought I'd go home and reread Sue Grafton. It's been a while since I last read the one about the topless dancer who gets poison injected into one of her implants."
"'D' Is For Cup."
"Right. Bern, you know what I wish? I wish she didn't have to stop at twenty-six. When the alphabet's used up, what happens to Kinsey?"
"Are you kidding? She goes straight into doublé letters. 'AA' Is For drunks, 'BB' Is For Gun, 'CC' Is For Rider. There was a whole list in Publishers Weekly a few months back. 'PP' Is For Golden Showers, 'ZZ' Is For Topp- I can't remember them all, but it looks as though she can go on forever."
"Bern, that's wonderful news."
"You'll be reading about Kinsey fifty years from now," I told her. "'AAA' Is for Motorists, 'MMM' Is for Scotch Tape. You'll never have to stop.”
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