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The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian (Bernie Rhodenbarr #5)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  1,669 ratings  ·  75 reviews
America's favorite bookseller-by-day, burglar-by-night has returned in The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian. The fifth entry in Lawrence Block's popular series, it's the book readers have been waiting for to complete their Bernie Rhodenbarr collections.Bernie is back. Now, he must uncover the relation between the disappearance of his best friend's cat and the ransom -- a ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 289 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Wheeler Publishing (first published 1983)
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The fifth Burglar book is, as we've come to expect from Block, an absolute pleasure to read from start to finish. The series is very much a by the numbers affair with your basic plot reused from one book to the next - namely the burglar must prove that he didn't murder somebody whilst keeping the fact that he was stealing something very valuable out of the equation - but it's all of the surrounding detail that our supreme storyteller adds to things that make it the delight that it is. Bernie is ...more
Little by little, I'm chipping away at this series featuring New York bookstore owner and occasional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr - and every one has been a treat. The ending of this one, the fifth, I believe, had my head in a bit of a spin trying to keep all the lines in the Mondrian paintings straight (pun intended), but it was one of the most enjoyable so far.

Bernie is approached by a wealthy gentlemen who wants an appraisal of the old books in the library of his swanky apartment. While he's the
Okay, I’ve avoided these books because I thought they were a low-rent version of Westlake’s Dortmunder series. I was wrong. They are a high-rent version of Dortmunder. At least, in this one, the protagonist has a higher grade of “clients.” And, at least in this one, the conclusion works out better than in the average Dortmunder novel. To be sure, I feel like the zany antics of Westlake’s crew and the sense that their elaborate schemes are going to get somehow twisted are actually more fun than B ...more
Jun 02, 2012 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Argh. I erased everything I wrote. So, the second try is going to be briefer.

This entry in the series is worth a full "4". No reverse points-shaving to get a "3.7" or similar up to the next whole star. Good plot, good character interactions, good writing. Bernie robs, thinks he is in the clear and then life gets very, very complicated.

Multiple homicides, a cat-napping, and a few close body doubles make this a very good book. We get a few secondary characters back into the series and some fine an
Mary Ellen
Jun 14, 2010 Mary Ellen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of light mysteries with a sense of humor
Shelves: mysteries
I love the humor in this series, featuring antiquarian-bookseller-by-day, burglar-by-night Bernie Rhodenbarr. The humor was definitely intact here, but I had trouble keeping track of the Mondrians, the various apartments, and some of the characters, in this one. Perhaps all of this is attributable to me, reading quickly and lazily, and not to the book. But, a major plot thread was rather poorly resolved, IMHO, and that earned it 3, rather than 4, stars. Still, I read Bernie for the humor more th ...more
This particular story was a little hard to follow, but funny and informative as usual. And talking about "as usual", just about every Bernie Rhodenbarr book I've read so far can be summed up in a few sentences...

Bernie: *burgles some unlucky bastard*
Some unlucky bastard: *turns up dead*
Ray: Darn it, Bernie, you've never been a violent man, why start now?
Ray: Just confess already. Oh, and I want half of what's in your wallet, your shoes and your puppy. Just
Jim Mann
Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr mysteries are an entertaining series, full of good characters, witty dialog, and literate references. Bernie is an ex (sort of) burglar who owns a used bookstore in New York City. Sometimes for fun, sometimes for other reasons, he gets back into burglary, but then usually winds up in a situation where he has to solve a murder to prove his innocence.

In The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian Bernie breaks into an apartment to steal a Mondrian, to meet a ransom de
I will freely admit to being as confused as Bernie's right hand Carolyn Kaiser by his every-which-way explanation of the various interconnecting crimes and misdirections, but the use of youth protesters as a diversionary tactic made me laugh rather heartily.
The fifth book in the series (I'm reading them in sequence), and again another very good read. Not quite up to the standards of '...Spinoza' (the ending to this one reminds me of the ending to '...Kipling', a bit vague for a while, but definitely better than that books muddled finish) but you get the feeling that five books in, the best is still ahead. I hope so. A great bunch of characters, snappy dialogue, and a cat called Archie Goodwin - what's not to like?

Considering that these books are a
I love the witty banter in the Bernie Rhodenbarr books, but maybe I'm reading too many in a row--you really notice how each book follows the exact same formula. While going about his usual peaceful burglary business, Bernie ends up being accused of a murder he did not commit. He solves the mystery and then calls all the characters together a la Hercule Poirot (one of the most unbelievable parts of the book) and elucidates everything. In this case, the elucidation was pretty hard to follow--too m ...more
Aside from the good mystery -- Bernie always gets himself into some kind of scrape that he has to dig himself out of by solving the crime he has been accused of -- the books have great repartee. I burst out loud laughing several times. Bernie has just stumbled into another thief (female) in an apartment he was burgling while attempting to steal a Mondrian. He needed the money to pay ransom for a cat that was stolen from his good friend Carolyn (Did I mention the wacky plots?) So Bernie and this ...more
Matt Allen
I'll admit, while I'd enjoyed the last couple of Burglar books, they didn't have the zip of the first two. The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian cured that whipfast.

Block is, in my experience, fantastic. I'm more of a Scudder guy, but the Bernie series is fun for a light read. This entry may have the best dialogue of any of the books I've read of Block's, Scudders included. Sharp, fast, characters whipsawing barbs to and fro--there are several scenes, as a reader, where I felt in the presence of
Scott K
This was my 5th of Lawrence Bock's Bernie Rhodenbarr and the storyline is pretty much like all the others. Bernie a career burglar who owns bookstore of rare and used books but his true bread and butter comes as he schemes a burglary, someone concede to the burglary gets murdered, Bernie gets accused and sets out to find the real killer and of course does after some elaborate planning that brings all the suspects together at the end with Bernie going through a mind shaking explanation.

Along the
Mark Passerrello
I have enjoyed The Burglar Who series very much. This one has a more intricate plot, and uses some narrative dodges that I don't appreciate in a good mystery or crime novel. Having a narrator talk about telling someone something-with out saying what-is weak story telling. Worse is having lots of new people show up for the final wrap up with out introduction or explanation before hand. All the loose ends get tied up, but it seems too 'pat'.
Reynolds Darke
A re-read of another good book in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series.
Bernie is a burglar, and a good one.
He also owns a used (hardcover only) bookstore in New York City.
Lawrence Block is an excellent writer and develops his stories and characters well.
As usual, Bernie is accused of murder and has to find the real killer.
And as usual Bernie gets everyone together for the big finale where he explains what really happened.
These are fun books and well worth the time.
Block és Bernie továbbra is szórakoztató. De azt hiszem, hiba ilyen gyors egymás utánban olvasni a regényeket. Mert például a végső leleplezés, a tetemrehívás legalább olyan színpadiasra sikerült, mint amilyen az előző rész volt. Na meg ami szörnyen zavart, hogy Bernie egyre többet titkolózik. Ő már nem sokkal a könyv fele után tudott mindent és nekiállt össze-vissza cselekedni meg nem elmondani a részleteket (na jó, nem ő, hanem az író), s ezzel nagyon fel tudott mérgesíteni. Igazából azokat a ...more
Block leads you about by the nose tossing in more plot twists than normal. When all the pieces fall into pace you will feel like slapping yourself on the head. He is the master of putting it all out there for you too see and making a nice little package out of it at the end. Leaving you wanting more.
Oct 25, 2013 Nicole rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone after a light quick enjoyable read
The sharp, wise-cracking hero of The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian is a likeable character. An antiquarian bookseller by day, Bernie makes his living as a burglar by night. When a painting is stolen from an apartment where he had been asked to do an evaluation on some books, Bernie is neatly put into the frame. You may groan, but it is the play with language that makes the book worth reading. Bernie, of course, solves the case but while he considers himself an ethical burglar (stealing from ...more
Another Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery. Witty banter and unusual situations are the hallmarks of these books. Unfortunately that's all there is. As a mystery I found this book convoluted and unable to draw me into the story. The reveal at the end is so difficult to follow you need to draw a character map to keep everybody straight. At least three critical characters are introduced in the final scene.

Worth the read for the characters and the witty banter. The plot device of having to steal a painting
Gloria Mccracken
Loving rereading this old series. It shows its age a little. For example, I wonder what Bernie Rhodenbarr, the title and main character, would do to establish an empty residence with so many people doing without land lines and, for that matter, being able to turn a phone ringer off. Still fun and an ingenious solution to the mystery.
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.
Daniel Sevitt
Sillier than I like. Bernie keeps getting caught up in murders and keeps find the perfect way to get clear and still come out a winner. Entertaining but lightweight.
The book was readable, I enjoyed it. Nothing phenomenal about it, but a relaxing read. I dont think the author knew about caller ID when he wrote this novel
I have a weakness for books which feature bookstore people, so I have to keep reading about Bernie. This novel mixes in the art world and murder, of course.
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
Okay, a few months ago I picked up a series of "burglar gone crime-solver" books from Lawrence Block via a sale on Amazon. This is my second and last. The mystery is fine, the pacing is decent. However, these books are dated and the treatment of women as pretty objects is revolting to me. Curiously, the treatment of gay people is fantastic and respectful, which is thoroughly surprising given the age of the novels. Go figure. But the way the main character talks about women is something I don't r ...more
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
More great fun with our favorite gentleman burglar/detective.
Jan Beaudin-johnson
Liked this best of the series so far.
Dan Berman
Too similar to the previous book
My favourite Bernie Book.
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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 Traded Ted Williams (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #6)
  • 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)
The Sins of the Fathers (Matthew Scudder, #1) Eight Million Ways to Die (Matthew Scudder, #5) When the Sacred Ginmill Closes (Matthew Scudder, #6) Hit Man (Keller, #1) Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #1)

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