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

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  1,493 ratings  ·  63 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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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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
I'd forgotten how much I love Bernie Rhodenbarr and Lawrence Block's books in general. This is deft, incredibly complex--while being totally fair to the reader with clues--and so funny I giggled and snorted all the way through. And now, of course, I'm off to the races, collecting ebook versions and branching out for the first time into his Matthew Scudder books. Did you know there's a Matthew Scudder movie out in September starting Liam Neeson? Looks dark, gritty and fab!
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 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...more
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.
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.
While I enjoy listening to Block's Burglar series for the humorous telling, this one had a terrible ending. Bernie the Burglar likes to have everyone gathered in a room when he announces the killer. In this one, he brings in a lot of people who were never in the story until the end. He talked to various unnamed people on the phone, discussing undescribed things. He stole into someone's apartment and did other undescribed things. And planting evidence to make sure people talk becomes a tired ploy...more
A great addition to Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr series.
This was okay. I really like the Bernie Rhodenbarr character and Block's writing, but the formula is basically: Bernie steals something and gets charged with a murder he didn't commit, then Bernie figures out the mystery without letting the reader in on the details, then Bernie invites all the people involved in the crime to a gathering and reveals to them, and the reader, who the murderer is. This book is late in the series so I'm going to go back to the first few books to see if the storylines...more
Lawrence uses a lot of the same type of quips in his writing that I use in my everyday lingo. Simply seeing 'moondrain' in the name 'Mondrian' is staple wordplay for me.

I liked the story, though the initial premise seemed off. I mean, who is going to ransom a cat for a quarter million dollars? And who would take that demand seriously?

The story came together very well in spite of that one issue and I enjoyed listening to it.
Chris Logan
The Bernie Rhodenbarr books just keeping getting better. Bernie is that unique blend of burglar and social conscience and always gets framed for his trouble. Yes this is a complicated plot that only comes together in the final showdown scene, involving characters that only appeared peripherally. But the enjoyment in the book is the dialogue, just a joy.
Absolutely my favourite Bernie Rhodenbarr story! This is a wonderful, complicated, humorous story with the glorious dialogue that makes all Lawrence Block's books so incredibly readable. I have read this at least a dozen times, it is the perfect book for a plane journey or a sleepless night, and it will always be on my bookshelf!
I am huge fan of Lawrence Block but, for some reason, have just never been able to connect with this series. In this book Bernie gets embroiled in a murder and art theft but the plot was just too convoluted for me and the humor a bit flat.
Evie Woolmore
Full disclosure, I know Lawrence Block and he has been a fabulous mentor to me. This is probably my favourite of the Burglar series - brilliantly fluent dialogue, wit and cleverness in equal measure, a neat plot, and the city of New York is, as ever in Block's books, a strong character all her own.
Really I would give 4 stars to the whole series. Extremely enjoyable mysteries. Read someone else's review to get a better idea, but the main character is very witty and likable (he owns a bookstore, but he makes his money by burglarizing apartments in New York). I sort of want to give it 5 stars.
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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
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 (Rhodenbarr, #1)

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