Ed's Reviews > The Burglar on the Prowl

The Burglar on the Prowl by Lawrence Block
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Aug 04, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: crime-fiction-mystery-thriller, humor, in-inventory-billings, reviewed
Recommended for: Mystery and crime novel fans
Read in August, 2016

It's been quite a while since I've read a Bernie Rhodenbarr story. Somehow, I missed this one 12 years ago. Whatever, it's a good one.

In this volume, Bernie, the lifelong career burglar, takes on an assignment to clean out the safe of Crawford Mapes, a dodgy Plastic Surgeon, who had stolen the girl friend of Bernie's pal, Maury Gilmartin. Bernie, though, gets antsy before carrying out the intended job and goes on the "prowl", hence the title of the book. Prowling, as Bernie realizes, is dumb as so many things can go wrong. He does it anyway and ends up in a compromising position in the apartment he's broken into. Exacerbating the situation, he is arrested the next day for 3 murders in the neighborhood he was prowling. He is quickly released but gets his name in the papers and as a result becomes involved in a very complicated situation involving a number of characters, many of whom are dangerous.

The plot evolves from there and after a number of blind alleys and a large number of coincidences, Bernie figures it all out and solves the mystery and a number of crimes in the process.

As in all the Bernie Rhodenbarr books, there is a lot of wordplay humor and gentle joshing between Bernie and his good friend Carolyn Kaiser, a neighboring merchant who has a shop called the Poodle Factory down the street from Bernie's legitimate front, a used bookstore. The book is also populated with a number of interesting, if not captivating, characters, all of whom have quirks, which Block, through Rhodenbarr, obviously enjoys describing.

Block has the ability to take someone in an unsavory occupation like burglar or hit man and make them not only human but likable. I totally enjoyed this volume in the series and recommend it even if you haven't read any of the others in the series.
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