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Good Behavior (Dortmunder #6)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  508 ratings  ·  30 reviews
(6th Title in the Dortmunder series)
John Dortmunder's one of the slyest burglars going. But by God, he has bad luck! While fleeing the police during his latest caper, he falls through the roof of the Silent Sisterhood of St. Filumena -- and tumbles into the lap of trouble. It's an act of God, the sisters exclaim. Only the Creator himself could have sent this criminal just
Hardcover, First Edition, 244 pages
Published May 1st 1986 by Mysterious Press (first published 1985)
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After a couple of weeks of expensive home repairs, tornado sirens regularly wailing in the background and reading Emma Donoghue’s excellent but ultra-depressing Room, I really needed a laugh. Fortunately, I had a Donald Westlake Dortmunder novel I hadn’t read yet mounted in a glass box on the wall with a sign that read: BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY NEED FOR CHUCKLES And once again, Westlake came through for me.

Sad-sack thief John Dortmunder is fleeing across New York rooftops from a botch
Susan Katz
I love Dortmunder, period. Who could resist a man with hair-colored hair and the world's most unstoppable bad luck? But in this book Westlake outdoes himself, landing Dortmunder in a convent of silent nuns, where his first act is to play a game of charades designed to inform him that they've taken a vow of silence. Seeking words that rhyme with pow, he runs through bow, cow, dow, fow (though the look on their faces when he says fow make him skip gow). When communications are established, he find ...more
Jason Reeser
This might be one of the best Dortmunder books that Westlake has given us. There are the usual fun antics as well as dire straits for our depressed sort-of-hero John Dortmunder. However, the straits are not as dire as they get in other books, which I was glad to see. I get a little tired of the exaggerated bad luck that Dortmunder and his crew run into. What I enjoy is the seemingly pedestrian bad luck that pesters them. I think this is one of the better stories for the character Andy Kelp. He i ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I’m a huge fan of Westlake’s books featuring hapless burglar John Dortmunder, but this one is special. Thieves, nuns (silent nuns, no less), a Trump-esque evil businessman, a cult deprogrammer, and a private army of mercenaries combine with an insane plot to rescue a kidnapped novice nun to make one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.
I was/am a big fan of the Dortmunder series, but this one holds a special place in my heart because it contains one of Westlake's funniest scenes ever: Dortmunder stuck in a meeting of mercenary soldiers. If I'm ever in a bad mood, I only need remember poor John trying to curse like a merc and I'm cheered immediately.
Daniel Marleau
Starts off a bit slow, but once Dortmunder has agreed to the caper and assembles the usual team, then things take off. The finale is a hoot with some clever twists and unexpected obstacles, all of which, Dortmunder and team overcome with not so much with skill, but their pursuers ineptitude. A funny new team member is a lock pick extraordinaire named Wilbur, who has spent more time in the slammer than being on the outside, and talks as if he were still in the 1940s. Making up for lost time, he's ...more
The "Dortmunder" novels by Donal Westlake are a demonstration of Murphy's Law for criminals. They are heist novels where during a carefully planned, almost perfect heist, something (at times a number of somethings) goes wrong-- always!!! How the gang works their way through the difficulties is nothing short of a criminal version of Mission Impossible, part con, part trick, part luck.

In "Good Behavior" a typical caper lands John Dortmunder into nunnery, where the nuns cannot speak due to a vow of
Good Behavior I had one of those commuter days where I had to change trains a lot in order to get to Chicago’s McCormick Place in order to meet a friend. Knowing I was going to spend a large part of my day on trains, I took Good Behavior with me. I finished it on my way home that night. That means it read relatively quickly. It’s a fast-moving story with, to me, familiar characters and familiar elements.

That isn’t to say that this book which is almost Dortmunder meets Mission: Impossible meets T
Apr 17, 2013 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone

There have been a lot of funny scenes in the several Dortmunder books that I have read. Rather than write detailed synopses or quote sections I have provided only overviews in the hope of enticing others to read these books without spoiling them. Ion keeping with that method, I might describe Good Behavior as a book that could have been subtitled: “You Rescue Me and I’ll Rescue You”. More on that later.

Like all of the stories, there is a situation that presents an opportunity for a heist. There
Dortmunder falls into a convent full of silent nuns who, despite just about everything about him, see him as a Godsend, just the man they need to rescue their sister, kidnapped by her obscenely wealthy father and held for deprogramming on the top floor of a Manhattan skyscraper. This is not the sort of thing John does. It's not even the sort of thing John approves of, but he hatches a scheme and puts together a string and before you know it there's burgling and rescuing going on and everything m ...more
Dortmunder - defeatist, wary - and his oddball crew on excellent form as they try to rescue a nun who is being de-programmed by her businessman father. Wry, smart, and funny
Matthew Jones
I am a big fan of Donald Westlake's books and I enjoyed this one. The only issue I had was in places I thought it got a little sillier than I thought best. Still an enjoyable read.
This nifty Dortmunder title starts with a bang. The hapless burglar finds himself up high on a rafter in the ceiling of a cloister where scads of nuns are silently contemplating the Divine. His rescue and consequent need to explain himself to women who've taken a vow of silence had me doubled over. And there are the wonderful and obligatory tropes--scenes in the OJ bar, where the regulars demonstrate their epic ignorance, descriptions of Tiny, in all his massiveness, and plot complications multi ...more
I always enjoy a Dortmunder story. He's written with a light heart and read simply for the fun of it.
Nancy Nicolucci
characters were over the top stereotypes. very predictable plot and not very in depth.
Sue Robinson
The Dortmunder books are great fun still despite being nearly 30 years old.
Δεν θα σταματήσω να γκρινιάζω που ο Westlake δεν έχει μεταφραστεί στα ελληνικά. Δράση και ανατρεπτικό χιούμορ σε φόντο μιας "άλλης" Νέας Υόρκης στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του 70, αρχές του 80, με κάποια απομεινάρια των χίππυς και ψήγματα των γιάπις... Ο Westlake τους κοροϊδεύει όλους και δε διστάζει να επιστρατεύσει το σιωπηλό τάγμα των μοναχών (όλες Μαρίες) της Αγίας Φιλομένης για να τα βάλει μ' ένα τάγμα μισθοφόρων που ετοιμάζονται για πραξικόπημα σε μια φανταστική(;) μακρινή χώρα.
Dangit, I wrote a review and I lost it.

Here is what you need to know.
This book is funny.
It is light.
It is short.
It is highly entertaining.

Just like the rest of the Dortmunder series. No need to pick apart subplots, just open, read, and have a good time.
John Dortmunder's one of the slyest burglars going. But by God, he has bad luck! While fleeing the police during his latest caper, he falls through the roof of the Silent Sisterhood of St. Filumen. I liked every page of this book.
dortmunder is a wonderful character.
This is my second favorite Donald E Westlake book (behind The Spy in the Ointment) and my most favorite Dortmunder story. Like many of my old faves I revisit this one from time to time. Makes me laugh every time. Light, funny, good characters, easy read.
Denise M.
Sep 13, 2009 Denise M. marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
AKA: Alan Marshall, Alan Marsh, James Blue, Ben Christopher, Edwin West, John B. Allan, Curt Clark, Tucker Coe, P.N. Castor, Timothy J. Culver, J. Morgan Cunningham, Samuel Holt, Judson Jack Carmichael, Richard Stark, Donald E. Westlake
Canard Frère
Westlake en grande forme balance Dortmunder dans une embrouille où se cotoient nonnes muettes et mercenaires enragés : toujours aussi drôle, bien que le démarrage m'ait semblé un poil plus lent que certains autres épisodes.
Dado Ellis
My father gave me my first Dortmunder in 1998 and I was hooked instantly. I've been reading Mr. Westlake books since then and this one is another classic funny caper with all the gang.
Josh Hamacher
Fast and fun. I like all of the Dortmunder novels, but I actually thought this was one of the funnier ones.
Dortmunder + nuns = not my idea of a good premise.
Philippe Escaffre
Un grand cru, à l'assaut de l'Avalon Tower
Karl Steffey
Jun 21, 2009 Karl Steffey marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, owned
Good Behavior by Donald E. Westlake (1990)
Second best Dortmunder. Tied with Good Behavior.
Sixth title in the Dortmunder series. Funny.
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Donald E. Westlake (1933-2008) was one of the most prolific and talented authors of American crime fiction. He began his career in the late 1950's, churning out novels for pulp houses—often writing as many as four novels a year under various pseudonyms such as Richard Stark—but soon began publishing under his own name. His most well-known characters were John Dortmunder, an unlucky thief, and a ru ...more
More about Donald E. Westlake...

Other Books in the Series

Dortmunder (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Hot Rock (Dortmunder, #1)
  • Bank Shot (Dortmunder, #2)
  • Jimmy The Kid (Dortmunder, #3)
  • Nobody's Perfect (Dortmunder, #4)
  • Why Me? (Dortmunder, #5)
  • Drowned Hopes (Dortmunder, #7)
  • Don't Ask (Dortmunder, #8)
  • What's The Worst That Could Happen? (Dortmunder, #9)
  • Bad News (Dortmunder, #10)
  • The Road To Ruin (Dortmunder, #11)
The Hot Rock (Dortmunder, #1) Bank Shot (Dortmunder, #2) The Ax What's The Worst That Could Happen? (Dortmunder, #9) What's So Funny? (Dortmunder, #14)

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