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Castle in the Air

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  127 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
A British master criminal assembles an international gang of infamous thieves to steal a castle whose stones contain a hidden fortune in cash, jewelry, and stocks.
Hardcover, 189 pages
Published 1980 by M. Evans
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Tony Gleeson
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I can't give this three-and-a-half, which is how I would rate it, so I'm giving Westlake the benefit of the doubt and raising him to a four here. This is one of his earlier "caper" books, when his literary facility and smoothness was perhaps not as great as it would become but his madcap imagination was at fuller vent than he would later allow it. Published not long after his classic "Dancing Aztecs," this one follows the tale of a band of international bandits and con artists, handicapped by in ...more
Mar 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is written in a way that makes it sound as if the narrator is talking to you, like he is telling you the story. I think the casual tone and laid back way that things are said add to the humor of the situation. I also think that it is one of the reasons that the book is so easy and quick to read. Westlake has a knack for a good comic crime. And he makes watching this international group of thieves stealing a castle a lot of fun. The humor does get almost slap stick at times with all the ...more
Feb 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Westlake dedicated this book to "The guys and gals at the Internal Revenue Service" and it does read like a book whipped out to pay bills. A gang of 13 international thieves conspire to steal a castle in transit; treachery and language difficulties ensue. 17 characters, none deeper than an inch. Not one of his better works, but a quick entertaining read if you don't mind stereotypes.
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable. My second Westlake (after A Spy in The Ointment, just as good), and I understand from some excellent reviews on here (thanks Tony) that these were his earlier and sillier efforts. Great, there's more and better Westlake to look forward to! His silliness and slapstick and capers are still intelligent and within the bounds of good taste. Love it.
Mar 15, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime
The weakest Westlake I've ever read. 5 or six years later this story of a group of criminals stealing the bricks of a castle might have been a decent Dortmunder, but here it's just a complete misfire. Not funny, not thrilling.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Donald Westlake is one of my favorite writers. This isn't a life changing book, nor even one of his best, but as usual, I find that he consistently gave more than was necessary. It won't change the world, but it brought a smile to my face. That's good enough for me.
Canard Frère
Un rythme toujours endiablé, une idée de départ tordue, une écriture pleine d'humour, du Westlake, donc. Malgré tout le niveau général reste assez peu convaincant de par un ton finalement assez potache et une conclusion un brin naïve.
Denise M.
Sep 14, 2009 marked it as to-read
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
Aug 19, 2010 rated it liked it
Fun book, I got confused with so many characters, but I think the chaos is what makes the book enjoyable. Would make a comical movie!
Katie Lynn
Apr 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorites EVER! I need to read it again.
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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
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