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The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam (Good Thief's Guide #1)

3.39  ·  Rating Details ·  2,305 Ratings  ·  404 Reviews
"An impressive, very funny debut novel . . . featuring Charlie Howard, who is the very model of a modern master criminal." -The Raleigh News & Observer

Charlie Howard travels the globe writing suspense novels for a living, about an intrepid burglar named Faulks. To supplement his income---and to keep his hand in---Charlie also has a small side business: stealing for a v
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published 2007)
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Graham Powell I noticed this as well, in particular a "grizzly" (grisly) crime scene and "heroine-chic" fashion (heroin-chic), and those are just the two I…moreI noticed this as well, in particular a "grizzly" (grisly) crime scene and "heroine-chic" fashion (heroin-chic), and those are just the two I remember.

And yes, other than that it was a really well-done book.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Dec 03, 2016 Anna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Ενδιαφέρον, χαλαρό, ιντρικαδόρικο, χιουμοριστικό! Πρωταγωνιστούν: ένας χομπίστας - κλέφτης (a.k.a. κλέβει από χόμπι, εννοείται ότι είναι πολύ προσεκτικός, έξυπνος, μελετημένος και αποτελεσματικός), ένας μεγαλόσωμος και ένας μικρόσωμος με IQ ραδικιού (και οι δυο μαζί), δυο αστυνομικοί (για το θεαθήναι - ή μήπως όχι?), ένας άλλος κλέφτης (εντελώς για το θεαθήναι (μάλλον), μια γοητευτική ξανθιά που δεν είναι σίγουρο ποια ακριβώς είναι, ένας χοντρός δικηγόρος (που δεν είναι σίγουρα δικηγόρος), τρία ...more
Jul 28, 2013 Bettie☯ rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bettie☯ by: Renee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 16, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Πριν λίγες μέρες κυκλοφόρησε στα ελληνικά από τις εκδόσεις mamaya, όντας μια από τις ευχάριστες εκπλήξεις της χρονιάς, μιας και κάνω σαν τρελός για τέτοιου είδους βιβλία, από συγγραφείς μάλιστα που δεν έχουμε ξαναδεί στα ελληνικά. Έτσι ήταν λογικό να το αγοράσω άμεσα και να το διαβάσω μονορούφι. Το καλό είναι ότι έμεινα ευχαριστημένος και ότι άξιζε η όλη αναμονή.

Λοιπόν, πρόκειται για το πρώτο βιβλίο μιας σειράς, όπου πρωταγωνιστεί ένας Εγγλέζος, ο Τσάρλι Χάουαρντ, που είναι σχετικά καλός συγγραφ
Feb 17, 2013 Claudia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A decent story, with a great setting (I love the Netherlands), all totally obscured by the absolute worst copy editing/proofreading I have ever seen. Weird constructions, flat-out grammatical errors, and the homonyms, oh, the homonyms. St. Martin's should be ashamed.

- First page, fifth sentence: "If I was a lesser writer,..." This should read, "If I were a lesser writer..." (an example of the otherwise rare subjunctive in English). This isn't a typo; it's consistently wrong, throughout the book.
Book Concierge
Charlie Howard is a successful mystery author, writing a series that features a professional burglar, Faulks. As a sideline he – and I guess you could call it research – he also occasionally accepts a commission to steal certain items. When a stranger offers him an unusually high fee to steal a couple of seemingly worthless monkey figurines, his instincts tell him to decline while his curiosity urges him to comply. Before long he’s embroiled in a major intrigue, and a suspect in a murder.

This w
Jun 22, 2014 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a book I meant to read two months ago for my mystery discussion group, but never got around to it until now. "The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam" by Chris Ewan is about a man who not only writes caper novels featuring a career thief; he also happens to be one. Charlie Howard is writing his latest book while on an extended stay in Amsterdam when he’s contacted via his website to meet with an American who knows about his other, less legal profession and offers him 20,000 euros to steal w ...more
Mel Siew
Aug 09, 2011 Mel Siew rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
One of those books that I would have not finished if I had actually been reading it instead of listening to the audio. The premise of a mystery writer who moonlights as a burglar sounded great but the characters were kind of flat and the plot was not all that engaging. The narration by Simon Vance was the highlight of the whole enterprise.
Aug 07, 2013 Ru rated it really liked it
Cheeky, clever, & with a semblance of Dashiell Hammett & Raymond Chandler, this mystery novel entertained me through and through. This is the first in a series of "Good Thief" stories which I'd heard of and finally decided to try. Very pleased I did; the book itself is not particularly long, but the story was solid. I particularly liked that what seems simple on the surface is actually a little more complex as you peel back the layers. And, while this has some humorous elements to it, it ...more
I wish there was an option for 2 1/2 stars, but since I had to choose, I went with 2 stars rather than 3. I thought the book ended stronger than it started. I was annoyed by what felt like a superiority complex on the part of the author; especially because I thought the main character was an idiot for not figuring out right off the bat that something was hidden inside the monkeys. (Of course I thought it was the diamonds until I realized that they were still uncut. But still!) The solving of the ...more
The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam - Chris Ewan
audio performance by Simon Vance
3 stars

Charlie Howard is a mystery novelist who freelances as a burglar, or maybe he is a thief who writes on the side. His books aren’t selling as well as he would like. He takes a suspicious, ‘too good to be true’ burglary commission to help support his lifestyle. Naturally, his life becomes a bit complicated.
Charlie has a nice sense of humor and this mystery had some satisfying twists and turns. Also, I could be h
Chris Witkowski
Very enjoyable, cleverly constructed mystery about an author of mystery books, who just happens to be a burglar on the side. Or maybe it's the other way around - burglary is his main profession, writing just a hobby? Lighthearted tale, set in one of my favorite cities, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with an intricate plot. Charlie is hired by a man to break into two homes and steal two small plaster monkeys;he is given detailed descriptions of the apartments and told just where to find the objects. ...more
If Chris Ewan was an architect, his philosophy wouldn't be "less is more", Corbusier is he not. His buildings would probably be of Richard Roger's intricate steel structures. His detective story sure is. Well, probably not that complicated but I can see how he revels in plots & details, there's a conclusion he made involving a break-in using mallet & drill, there's a gun being hidden somewhere that turned up again several chapter later, there's a manuscript with a plot hole involving a b ...more
Good, clean fun. I might even follow this self-absorbed hack writer (speaking of the protagonist, not his creator, although...) to Paris for another silly caper. What I needed to get through a stressful couple of days.

A couple of months ago I attended a day-long writing conference. It was a series of workshops featuring a multitude of themes; most sessions featured writing prompts that we responded to and then read our writing aloud.

There was this thing I noticed from fellow participants who w
Jul 10, 2012 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I travel, I try to read a book before hand that has something to do with that locale. This summer I traveled to the Netherlands and picked 2 books to read - Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (great story but has almost nothing to do with Amsterdam) and The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam. This is the first of Chris Ewan's 'Good Thief' series which revolve around a mystery author, Charlie Howard, who happens to supplement his income with a bit of burglary on the side. Charlie is no ordinary burgla ...more
Aug 24, 2012 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charlie Howard writes books about thieves and suspense. He's also a thief himself. Approached by a man who wants him to steal three monkey figurines of little apparent value, but the theft must occur in a certain time frame. Charlie decides, against his better judgment (the money's really good,) to take on the challenge. He recovers two of them only to discover he had competition, and that the American who hired him has been severely beaten and left for dead. Charlie is soon a suspect in the mur ...more
Jul 01, 2013 B.reader rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
While the book had a great premise--a crime novelist who writes about a thief, and is actually a thief himself!--the execution was really pretty bad. I had no sympathy for the main character, as he was boring and didn't really ever engage the reader. Also, the whole I'm-a-writer aspect seemed like it was just tacked on as an afterthought, and wasn't ever developed fully. While sometimes we saw the main character thinking about his book, we never saw him writing or revising in any depth. Finally, ...more
Feb 13, 2015 James rated it liked it
Briskly moving and great sense of European atmosphere setting in Holland, but this mystery thriller/romp regarding a first person narrative about a mystery author who supplements his income by burglary, becomes very confusing at its "bring the suspects all together in the same room" ending. The main character, Charlie Howard is having trouble trying to fix a situation in the mystery he is writing and the same could be said for the author of this novel who jams a lot of information and whys and ' ...more
Aug 12, 2016 Spuddie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite enjoyed this first entry in the Charlie Howard series...Charlie is a British crime novelist who also happens to be a practicing thief. There was a good balance of presenting the main character's backstory and personal life intermingled with clues and details about the mystery he became involved in. Mind you, the mystery's solution was extremely obvious, but it didn't really take away from the enjoyment of getting there. Looking forward to getting to know Charlie better!
Richard White
I was looking forward to reading this book and to reading the rest in the series. It was entertaining, good not great, but did not disappoint. I still prefer Lawrence Blocks burglar series but then again, as my profile attests, I am partial to Block.

I was hoping to get a better feel of the locale (Amsterdam) as I find a well written book set in a foreign Country is as good as a trip without the Airfare. I'll try the Paris and Las Vegas books soon.
Aug 07, 2008 Natalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a reader's choice book at my library and I loved it. It was well written with a lot of unexpected plot twists. It was very fast paced and left a cliff hanger at the end of each chapter so it was hard to put down. The climax was very complex with a lot of loose ends but the author tied it all up nicely. There is one adult scene though, which I guess unfortunately is standard for any modern book anymore. But the tight prose was gripping.
A solid first book of a series. Despite his criminal tendencies (or perhaps because of them?) I liked the protagonist Charlie Howard and his agent Victoria. The twists and turns in the plot kept the story interesting while Ewan used enough discretion to keep the book from getting bogged down. I will read more of this series.
I think this might have been slipped into my suitcase by Skyring to release in Amsterdam, but unfortunately I started reading it there, and it continued on to the plane home...

It was a fairly good book, good escapist, and had enough twists and turns in it to keep me interested.
The Library Lady
I found the plot a bit bumpy, and figured out some of the twists. But Charlie is engaging company and I enjoyed the second book even more.
Iva Tarle
Jun 27, 2013 Iva Tarle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fun and exciting, full of suspense. i want to read more of his books. if you like thiefs, thriller and mistery, this is your number.
Nov 02, 2012 Bethany rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really, really enjoyed this. The narrator was wonderful and the storytelling was great! I will definitely read more of the series.
Nov 29, 2011 Richard rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wordy plot with nothing but talk over the final 40 pages. Early action comes to a standstill as the main character works out the details of an old murder.
May 11, 2012 Jakenv rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting concept for writer/thief. Liked narrative style. Moved along at fair pace. Translation bit sketchy in a few places. Enjoyable quick read.
Entertaining mystery with lots of twists and turns, quirky characters, and interesting setting.
Melissa Abbott
Oct 05, 2014 Melissa Abbott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved the Amsterdam backdrop, the mystery, and most of all Simon Vance reading this exquisite little who dun it!
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Play Book Tag: The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam / Chris Ewan - 4**** 2 11 Mar 11, 2016 07:08PM  
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Chris Ewan is the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of many mystery and thriller novels. His work has been called “truly compelling” (Daily Express), “chilling and thoroughly enjoyable” (Observer) and “outstanding” (US Publishers Weekly), and his books have been hailed as “popular fiction at its best” (The Spectator) and “crime writing at its best” (Sydney Morning Herald). In 2011, he wa ...more
More about Chris Ewan...

Other Books in the Series

Good Thief's Guide (5 books)
  • The Good Thief's Guide to Paris (Good Thief's Guide, #2)
  • The Good Thief's Guide to Vegas (Good Thief's Guide, #3)
  • The Good Thief's Guide to Venice (Good Thief's Guide, #4)
  • The Good Thief's Guide to Berlin (Good Thief's Guide, #5)

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