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The Burglar in the Closet (Bernie Rhodenbarr #2)

3.88 of 5 stars 3.88  ·  rating details  ·  2,181 ratings  ·  105 reviews
It's hard to ignore someone with his hands in your mouth. Bernie Rhodenbarr's all ears when Dr. Sheldrake, his dentist, starts complaining about his detestable, soon-to-be-ex wife, and happens to mention the valuable diamonds she keeps lying around the apartment. Since Bernie's been known to supplement his income as a bookstore owner with the not-so-occasional bout of high ...more
Paperback, 290 pages
Published April 25th 2006 by HarperTorch (first published 1978)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchThe Thief by Megan Whalen TurnerThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienArtemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
124th out of 434 books — 843 voters
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52nd out of 80 books — 29 voters

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Community Reviews

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This book inspired one of the greatest head-scratchers in the history of film adaptations when Hollywood decided that Burglar would feature Whoopi Goldberg playing a white male and Bobcat Goldthwait would be perfect as a lesbian dog groomer.

I got to meet Lawrence Block while he was on a book tour for Hope to Die, and I asked him if he knew what prompted the movie producers to have Whoopi play Bernie. Even though it was obvious that he’d answered this about a million times before Block patiently
The Burglar in the Closet: Being the second confession of Bernard Rhodenbarr, Gentleman Thief. It's all fun and games until a burglar gets framed for murder.

In this confession we discover that Bernie is a terrible drunk, resistible to women, prone to errors on the job, a master at breaking and entering and leaving as much as he takes, beloved by his neighbours, an amateur sleuth and claustrophobic. We discover these facts in due course as he recounts the details of the time he was persuaded to s
Arun Divakar
Bernard Grimes Rhodenbarr is an interesting character to say the least. He is a burglar, a smooth talker, an even smoother operative in the field of breaking and entering, outwardly calm, charming, wise cracking and occassionally loud mouthed a person ! The best thing about him is that he manages to solve mysteries while he is busy with all the above activities. Talking about his methodology of solving mysteries, it is neither the logical way noor the way of deductive reasoning. His mysteries go ...more
Dan Schwent
Bernie Rhodenbarr's dentist hires him to steal his ex-wife's jewels. The problem is she inconveniently gets murdered while Bernie is hiding in her closet. Before you know it, the police are after Bernie for not one but two murders. Can Bernie clear his name before the police catch him?

I have to admit that after the first Burglar book, I was a little skeptical. Block changed my mind with this one. While the plot is quite similar to the first book, Burglars Can't Be Choosers, it's better executed.
May 26, 2012 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
This is the third book I have read about The Burglar and the second one written. Like the others, it stars master thief Bernie Rhondenbarr and has a light, almost airy feel to the story. Which is odd as in almost every book it seems that our misguided protagonist is caught up in some dastardly murder or with some violent characters who are after him or a close associate. Despite the threat of grievous bodily harm (and killing Bernie is often the most grievous harm they wish to perform) or incarc ...more
Well read again by Adams Morgan, whose voice fits Bernie Rhodenbarr perfectly & captures the other New Yorkers well, too. (I love Mrs. Hesch. Reminds me of my Aunt Anna.) Bernie is again suspected of murder & must find the real killer before the cops find him. There were so many similarities to the first in the overall plot that I just couldn't give this another star, although it wasn't bad. The end worked out about how I expected, but there was a bit of twist that I thought was over the ...more
Lawrence Block is moving his way up my favorite author list with every book that I read of his. This series follows Bernie Rhodenbarr our favorite burglar and if you want the standard Block grit and seriousness then this series isn't for you. This has just as much humor as it does action/mystery as we followed our lovable thief as he continues to get himself in all kinds of trouble. It has a New York feel to it so if that's something you like (or don't like) be warned.

Not 5 stars because I thoug
Bernie Rhodenbarr, the debonair and non-violent burglar, is back, again implicated in a murder that takes place in the very domicile he is stealing from. Bernie’s dentist knows he’s a burglar, and convinces him to rob the dentist’s ex-wife’s apartment, where she keeps a lot of jewelry. She returns unexpectedly, and hiding in a closet, Bernie hears her death, but does not see her killer. The dentist is not a likely suspect, since Bernie hit the place on a different day than the one agreed upon, b ...more
Matt Allen
I'm so impressed with Lawrence Block's range. The Burglar in the Closet is a wonderful example of it.

Have read three Scudders and two Rhodenbarrs, my tastes lean toward the Scudder landscape. But the lightness and clever mind of Bernie is a wonderful thing to behold. And the ability of the same writer to do such a thoroughly great job at both styles is a big deal. But I'm sure, by now, I'm much closer to the billionth person to figure that out than the first.

Burglar 2 is Block's usual--populat
PROTAGONIST: Bernie Rhodenbarr, burglar
SERIES: #2 of 10
RATING: 3.75
WHY: When Bernie Rhodenbarr's dentist tips him off that his ex-wife owns a lot of jewelry, Bernie decides to rob her. She returns unexpectedly with a lover. Bernie hides in her closet, where she locks him in - with the attaché case full of jewels still in her room. Bernie hears her being murdered; when he finally gets out, he finds that the case has been stolen. The dentist is arrested, but he spills the beans on Bernie, who then
Really more like 3.5 stars. I picked up this book from the library after reading Block's introduction to one of my Nero Wolfe novels. He said he'd been thinking of Archie Goodwin (my favorite snarky PI narrator) when he created Bernie Rhodenbarr, NYC burglar and general wiseacre. Well, yes and no. Bernie's fairly funny and the breaking and entering parts are tense and interesting, but I kept thinking this installment was missing some oomph.

The plot: Bernie's dentist lets slip that he knows Bern
The main character in this book, the second in a series of novels written about the curious things that seem to be always happening to him while on the job, is a professional burglar called Bernard "Bernie" Rhodenbarr. He lives in New York. You'd think that doing what he does, he must be a cunning, cruel, ruthless man. Actually he's quite an easy-going, relaxed dude who does what he does because he doesn't have any specific talent for anything except picking locks and the only training he’s got ...more
Lawrence Block is my favorite author. The comic burglar series stars Bernie Rhodenbarr as the hapless bookstore owner who always runs into unexpected trouble when pulling one of his cat burglar heists. Like the master of the comic caper Donald Westlake, Block manages comedy, terrific characters, and mystery in his crackling dialogue. Read them all.
Bernie's quite the charming character, and it's certainly a pleasure to watch him try to disentangle himself from another seemingly straightforward job that has inevitably gone terribly wrong. A perfect series for fans of the late Donald E. Westlake.
Now that I've found - thanks to a friend - this series featuring professional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, I'm on a roll. This second book is every bit as entertaining as the first, and I've got no plans for stopping any time soon.

This one begins at the dentist's office, of all places; as Bernie is having his teeth worked on, the self-described "World's Greatest Dentist" starts complaining about his wife, from whom he's getting a divorce. He's unhappy that she's got an apartment full
Lois Browne
I've read all of Lawrence Block's Burglar series more than once. Bernie Rhodenbaar is a great creation -- funny, clever and engaging to the last page.
Block is a facile writer. He writes with humor and zest. Impossible to read his books without smiling. I have read three or four of his novels -- all written in the first person. Not sure if any of his many novels are ever written in the third person, but I hope to work my way through his entire output and find out.

Humor is the primary ingredient here. There is a tasty helping of street-smart lingo to add a little spice.

I won't confuse "The Burglar in the Closet" with great literature, but if y
Dennis D.
Apr 20, 2009 Dennis D. rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: mystery and thriller lovers
In the previous story dealing with the life and times of professional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, the series debut Burglars Can't Be Choosers, Bernie winds up in an Manhattan apartment very shortly after a murder has taken place, making him the prime suspect. This time around, Bernie is surprised in the middle of a different job and hides in the closet hoping for a later chance to escape, only to wind-up an “ear-witness” to another murder.

Just as comedies rarely win the Oscar® for Best Picture, I

Cozy -- predicable ensemble players

homosexual female business person -- probable ground breaking for mainstream detective

loved the sex scene description-- on page 28 -- and then they were in the bedroom, and hen they did what they'd come to the bedroom to do, and that's all you're going to hear from me on that subject. It's no fun listening to it and I'm certainly not going to try and re-create the experience for you.

Bernie is on the move again, this time he is out to get jewels from his Dentist ex-wife. Everything is going well, until he finds himself locked in the closet.
Then murder and mayhem follow. Although not exactly in that order.
Once again our friendly neighborhood Burglar is on the run being falsely accused of killing someone. And in this case also of getting away with the jewels. He moves fast to prove that it wasn't him that did the deed. In the end he ends up drinking a lot, teasing the Dental
While I’m not enjoying this series as much as I did Block’s “Matthew Scudder” series, it’s still a fun read. Bernie Rhodenbarr is a burglar. A burglar who always seems to get himself involved in murder as he goes along stealing things from others. Using unconventional means, Bernie manages once again to clear his name and keep himself out of jail. Light reading for anyone who likes a bit of crime and murder.
Another thoroughly enjoyable for the lovable burglar. So enjoyable that I devoured it in just a few days. I only gave it four stars rather than five because the plot was so similar to the first in the series. I sincerely hope that in the third book the poor guy doesn't end up being suspected of yet another murder.
Oswald Hobbes
Breezy as hell and features one less scene of Bernie explaining how everything happened than the previous book did. But don't worry, that still leaves two. With Rhodenbarr's basic gentleman burglar personality already established there's more space for goofin.' The first book was amusing but this one's actually funny.
Robert Bacal
Block is classic, at least in this series of Rhodenbarr books, which combine fabulously quirky characters, humor, and some twists and turns. This series is my favorite of his works. I'm not as keen on the paid assassin type thing, because of its subject matter, but they, too are, excellent.
Read these mysteries a long time ago and wanted to revisit the clever murder-solving burglar and his zippy first-person narration/dialog. Still fun and satisfying. Original read was a 4 star experience; this one is about mid-level for the series as a whole.
Apr 06, 2014 Eliana added it
Bernie Rhodenbarr and his gang are the most likeable and laugh out loud funny since the "Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight" All the books in this series are good fun to read.
A light and fun read with characters who come to life, especially the main character Bernie Rhodenbarr. A good mystery in that it takes some time to puzzle out who did it and why but it's not impossible to figure out before the reveal. I look forward to reading more about Bernie!
Bernie is always an interesting character. However, this installment was a bit too farfetched and convoluted to merit anything more than a three star rating.
Fun little mystery novel -- the second in the Burglar series. Bernie is asked to commit a burglary that leads to trouble.
A good story. An easy read. No great levels of concentration needed. Which made it a great choice for a visit to the In-Laws :-)
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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...
The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1) Eight Million Ways to Die (Matthew Scudder, #5) Hit Man (Keller, #1) When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder, #6) Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #1)

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