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The Burglar in the Library (Bernie Rhodenbarr #8)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,958 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews

Bookseller and New-Yorker-to-the-bone, Bernie Rhodenbarr rarely ventures out of Manhattan, but he's excited about the romantic getaway he has planned for himself and current lady love Lettice at the Cuttleford House, a remote upstate b&b. Unfortunately, Lettice has a prior engagement—she's getting married . . . and not to Bernie—so he decides to take best buddy Carolyn

Kindle Edition, 402 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,815)
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Mike French
Aug 10, 2015 Mike French rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another very enjoyable and entertaining Bernie Rhodenbarr book!A GRAT series from one of America's best writers!
May 28, 2014 Monnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Colonel Mustard in the kitchen with a candlestick!

Well, actually it was in the library, as the title suggests, and I won't reveal who did it or with what weapon. But the whole scenario of this fun-to-read book is reminiscent of the popular game of Clue played in the middle of an Agatha Christie mystery.

It goes something like this: Bernie Rhodenbarr, a New York City bookstore owner and part-time thief, plans a romantic getaway to Cuttleford House, an old-fashioned bed-and-breakfast in upstate New
Apr 03, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone looking for a fun, lighthearted mystery
I have recently been burying myself in detective/mystery classics. In the last month, I've read Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep, Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon, and Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and Murder on the Orient Express.

So when I got wind that Block, a writer whose work I enjoy, wrote a book where his burglar protagonist, Bernie Rhodenbarr, attempts to steal a first-edition copy of The Big Sleep inscribed to Dashiell Hammett, only to get caught up in an Agatha Chris
Sep 05, 2012 Lee rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book, mystery, humor
What a disappointing ending.

The story began promisingly enough with Bernie Rhodenbarr and friend Carolyn heading out to a late winter retreat at an English country-style house, with the aim of purloining a choice volume of Raymond Chandler's "The Big Sleep" that was inscribed with a greeting to Dashiell Hammett. The book is there, but so are the corpses.

The Burglar in the Library goes wrong when Bernie plays detective but Block can't be bothered to play straight with his readers. Why are the pe
"The Burglar in the Library" is an enjoyable Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery.

This is the second time I've read the story and it has remained enjoyable and entertaining.

Bernie and his companion, Caroline Kaiser, leave New York City and travel upstate New York to a traditional English country house that has been converted to a B & B.

Bernie is a book store owner in New York and knows his mystery writers. He has found that Raymond Chandler, one of the founders of the hard-boiled mystery will be at a f
Lawrence Block's latest Bernie Rhodenbarr novel, The Burglar in the Library is based on the premise that Raymond Chandler inscribed a copy of The Long Sleep to Dashiell Hammett, gave it to him, and then the book was inadvertently left at the place where the two had met for drinks. That building, an old mansion, became a classic English style inn, and Bernie has high hopes the book, now worth a fortune, is still stuck in with the other titles in the huge library. He and Carolyn his lesbian, dog-g ...more
Jan 31, 2015 Katie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, audiobook
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gary Mesick
Mar 10, 2010 Gary Mesick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best of Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr series--and I prefer this series to all his others. Why not five stars? It's just great fun, not great art. This one is really a send-up of the British "cozy" mystery (thus the title playing on the "butler in the library," who always did it.) It is goofier than others in the series, but Block has such a good time that it's hard not to go along for the ride. And, as with the others in this series, you could build a pretty good reading list from the wor ...more
Syl  ʃʃ^.^ʃʃ
Jan 19, 2011 Syl ʃʃ^.^ʃʃ rated it it was amazing
it was amazing. My kind of cozy comfy mystery. I loved this book from page one, and was thoroughly interesting except for the last few pages, where the motives etc. were being described, by the time, anyone with half a brain will be able to deduce the intentions of the killer. The dialogues were biting and humorous. I could not help laughing out loud many a time. The plot is set in a comfortable 'English countryside' mansion in America, where guests come for rest and relaxation. The protagonist ...more
Aug 06, 2015 Berry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a five star mystery, no doubt, and my favorite Bernie book by far. Naturally, I respond according to a book in this series depending on what Block is satirizing in it. I admit, I'm a huge Agatha Christie fanboy so TBITL is right up my alley. This is Block satirizing the cozy mystery. It's funny, but not jokey. It can be read just like a cozy while both poking fun at and applauding it too. And I have a soft spot for this one especially since it's a play on Agatha's "The Body in the Librar ...more
Mar 15, 2013 Sharla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a bit of a spoof, echoes of Christie and Chandler, laced with all the usual Bernie nonsense. I love this humorous series by Lawrence Block featuring lovable thief, Bernie Rhodenbarr. Bernie, his best friend, Caroline, and Raffles the cat are stranded during a snow storm at a luxurious country estate. Guests are dropping like crazy and it is up to Bernie to figure out who the murderer is before he and Caroline become the next victims.
Books that combine disparate genres can be a disaster or a lot of fun. This book is the latter. The Burglar Who... books are normally fun caper novels, and this one is. However, this volume takes Bernie out of New York and puts him, with his platonic friend Carolyn, in an English Country House to be snowed in when a series of murders take place. The fact that this house is in the Berkshires doesn't stop the author from crafting something "straight out of an English mystery", as Carolyn says.

Finished this on Wednesday night but didn't get a chance to post a review about it yet.

"The Burglar in the Library" by Lawrence Block is part of his established Bernie Rhodenbarr series. Bernie owns a bookstore in New York with his Manx cat but he also happens to be a thief.

What I enjoyed most about this story was how much of a reader Bernie is. He frequently referenced some of my favorite classic UK mystery writers.

If you're looking for a realistic crime, this is not for you. However, if you'
Oct 16, 2015 Ed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, cozy-mystery, humor
#8 in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series.

Burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr series - This time, Bernie is off with pal Carolyn for a weekend at a pseudo-English manor in the wilds of New England. Bernie hasn't the usual salacious aims in mind - Carolyn is a lesbian, after all, and the woman Bernie had wanted to take has just up and married someone else - but there is a rare book he lusts for. Cuttleford House happens to contain an inscribed Raymond Chandler first edition. A huge snowstorm traps everyone at the
Jul 08, 2013 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Our burglar is on a weekend getaway at an English-style house in upstate New York. He hopes for a relaxing vacation, but once again he is forced to play sleuth. This series is consistently fun.
Feb 19, 2015 Cynthia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really like this series - not as dark as his Matt Scuder series and not as disquieting as the Hit Man series which I can't even read. The main characters talk to one another in a very witty one liner/quip type of way that leaves me, as when I read Jane Austen, wishing people really talked like that. One line towards the end reduced me to helpless laughter - the kind that is so good for your heart, blood pressure and immune system. I laughed out loud all by myself for quite a while and whenever ...more
Rog Harrison
I have enjoyed several of the books in this series so I was pleased to be able to borrow this one from a friend. Bernie and Carolyn are great characters and their repartee is often laugh out loud funny. This book is a mixture of an old fashioned English country house murder mystery and a Raymond Chandler novel. I suspect in some sort of homage to Chandler the author wrote a plot which did not quite make sense, with characters whose motivations were not clear and with one death which was not expl ...more
Highly-enjoyable (and funny!) read – though perhaps my enjoyment in it stemmed more from the dialogues/ banter between the characters and the way Bernie’s mind worked rather than from how the plot eventually unfurled.

To get it out of the way: no, I really was not all that enthused with how the truth came about. Or what the cause of the crimes turned out to be. It was a bit of a downer, to put it mildly.

But I am trying not to dwell on that (taken as a whole, the execution of the denouement could
Jan 01, 2015 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Burglar and bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr gets a chance to combine his vocations when he realizes that a quaint old "English" inn in upstate New York may be the hiding place of a rare Raymond Chandler book. When his girlfriend du jour drops him, he persuades his best friend Carolyn to accompany him to the Cuttleford House, where they find a lot of snow, a sabotaged bridge, and several dead bodies. Snowbound, Bernie does his best to dig out from the mystery surrounding the eccentric inhabitants an ...more
Steven Vaughan-Nichols
In which our hero, the burglar/bookstore owner from NYC ends up with his best friend, Carolyn, the lesbian pet-groomer, in an olde English-style manor house in New England where they're trapped by a snow storm and then murders commence. How will they survive? Can Bernie solve a English cozy style mystery? Will our protagonist get the murderer before he (she?) gets him and will he get away with what he came there to steal in the first place--I mean, come on, he is a burglar after all? All will be ...more
Apr 09, 2015 Lobo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blockban lehet bízni, hogy kiváló történettel örvendezteti meg az olvasót, s mint mondom itt aztán van minden ami klasszikus krimiben várható. Még tea és nyugalmazott katonatiszt is, aki azonnal segítségére siet betörőnknek a nyomozás lefolytatásában. Közben meg író és olvasó egyaránt lubickol a motívumokban, fordulatokban, amelyek ismerősek lehetnek és mégis sikerül kicsit meglepni minket vele az írónak. Bernie persze megint csal a nyomozás vége előtt – igaz most elég zseniális húzással –, de m ...more
Sep 02, 2012 Sorcha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american, 2012
After his girlfriend announces she's getting married to another man, Bernie takes off to an English Style country house with Carolyn to lick his wounds in searching for a Raymond Chandler book rumoured to be personally inscribed to Dashell Hammett.

It's the winter, in the middle of nowhere, and the snow is coming in thick and fast. The last thing anyone needs is to realise they are trapped with no chance of escape with a killer on the loose.

Medium length book (most of Block's books come in at und
Ivonne Rovira
Jun 06, 2012 Ivonne Rovira rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best in Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr series.

The Burglar in the Library is one part Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (a.k.a. The Ten Little Indians"), one part Christie's The Body in the Library and one part Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, with Bernie and Carolyn Kaiser pairing up as a platonic Nick and Nora Charles. All of the Rhodenbarr books are pretty funny, but this one is also a loving take on the English house murders that Dame Agatha Christie made famo
Marc Leroux
You either like the Burglar series or you don't. If you do, this is a good one. If you haven't tried one in the series before, then give it a shot. Bernie Rodenbarr is a used book store owner, and he is also a burglar. He has graduated from petty theft to going after big ticket items; in this case, it's a very, very rare book.
He is planning to take his girlfriend on a vacation when she dumps him; she is planning to get married (and not to Bernie) the same weekend Bernie chose for their getaway.
Julia Brotherston
A lot of predictability, from the (almost) get go, when Bernie gets dumped, until the end, with the coverup of his former girlfriend; and then there's the matter of really stretched coincidences and the gratuitous passages and then, after dragging a bit much, like a rush to tie in all or almost all the loose ends in a blurted out confession and a finale that might've tried to be mysterious but came up short. Not close to the first Bernie Rhodenbarr novel, but not that bad to deter me from trying ...more
Oct 19, 2014 Hillary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-geek
My first read of Bernie Rhodenbarr, and it was lots of fun. I fell right in despite not having read anything else in the series. The English-style "locked house" mystery was used to great advantage in the plot, and was not just a shtick. Good humor in the language, and a satisfyingly complex mystery. It was the word "library" and the plot involving a book that got me interested, but I will read more in the series now.
Mar 10, 2014 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By far the best in the series so far! You would think that taking a vacation would keep Bernie out of trouble. Instead of a nice quiet weekend with a little five finger discounting on the side Bernie finds himself hip deep in another murder investigation. Snowed in with no way out Bernie has to sort out who is killing the guests at a secluded getaway lodge. Fantastic till the very last page!
Michael Burnam-fink
It must be that time of year where I read a ton of formulaic fiction to clear my mind. Bernie Rhodenbarr is back, with another disastrous love affair, another lost piece of pop-culture ephemera (A first edition Raymond Chandler autographed to Dashiell Hammett), and a corpse. The setting is a snowbound B&B masquerading as an English country estate, and with the bodies piling up, Bernie needs to find out the real killer and abscond with his priceless first edition. There's some cleverness as B ...more
Cori Arnold

A nice distraction. A fun "mashup" with Agatha Christie and a dash of Raymond Chandler, before mashing up was really a thing. I wanted something light, but I wanted to read some good prose, and I knew Lawrence Block wouldn't disappoint.

It gets a bit dry and oddly repetitive toward the middle end, but picks up again to a driving finish.

I thought for a while that Block was pulling my leg, and by the end I knew he was.
Jan 07, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I love this series!! I can't say it enough. But this has to be my favorite Bernie mystery so far. This book was everything that I love about a mystery. Likeable, well-developed characters, an interesting plot that I couldn't guess the ending and lots of humor. In fact, I challenge any reader to make it through this book without laughing out loud. It was quite the diversion from the usual New York City setting, but it worked well. Of course the mystery itself is totally improbable, but who cares? ...more
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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 Traded Ted Williams (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #6)
  • The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #7)
  • 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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