Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling” as Want to Read:
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling

(Bernie Rhodenbarr #3)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  2,850 ratings  ·  189 reviews
Bernie Rhodenbarr tries to go legit by opening a second-hand bookstore, but he still can't resist that which he does best--burglary! Someone's willing to pay him handsomely for what seems to be an easy job: the theft of a rare Kipling edition. But as his contact turns up dead and the cops are out to throw the book at him, Bernie has to use all the tricks of his illicit tra ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published November 1st 1997 by Signet (first published 1979)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.83  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,850 ratings  ·  189 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Professional thief Bernie Rhodenbarr is trying to go legit by buying a book store, but that’s a tough way to make the rent even back in the days before Amazon. So when Bernie gets an offer to swipe a rare volume of Kipling verses for a hefty payday he’s more than willing to start picking locks again.

However, what should be a simple exchange of the book for the cash goes sideways, and Bernie finds himself on the run from the cops after being framed for murder. He’ll need all of his cr
Joe Krakovsky
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my first mystery review for Goodreads, and I am glad I chose this book. What a barrel of fun! You know, they say you should write about what you know. That being the case, I sure hope Lawrence Block stays the hell away from my neighborhood.

The story is about a burglar who runs a bookstore (Yea!) who gets framed for murder in a quest for an extremely rare book. This book has a copywrite of 1979, and the story shows its age. That doesn't detract from it one bit. Maybe I am old, because I
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
The Bernie Rhodenbarr series remains an unusual series since the main character is an unapologetic burglar who doesn't lose sleep over swiping some valuables. This time Bernie is behind the front of a used bookstore he wants to succeed with, but he's drawn into a shady deal against his better judgement when conned into a valuable book deal of all things.

Outside the same police detective that Bernie bribes occasionally, there continues to be no continuing cast. All new people yet again, dependab
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an enjoyable fun read. A mystery about the book world is usually always fun and is quite enjoyable if done correctly. Larry Block, I call him Larry as that is the way he signed this book, can do the job better than some.

The writing is fast and humorous about a New York bookseller who also happens to be a burglar, his best friend, a self proclaimed lesbian who runs a dog grooming shop a few doors from his book shop is cleaver and well written. Beside the plot, of a stolen book, that may
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serial-thrillers
Number 3 in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series.
What a breath of fresh air this was.
Bernie Rhodenbarr is a master burglar with a good heart. He's a bit of a modern day Robin Hood, takes from the rich and maybe gives some back to the not so rich.
The offbeat humour is infectious, and there's lot's of it.
This book is nearly 40 years old and it's interesting to note that Bernie's sidekick, Carolyn Kaiser, is a devout lesbian. I'd say that put's Block well ahead of public opinion at the time.<
Mike French
Dec 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable and entertaining. Easy to see why Lawrence Block is such a popular author!
Jan 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_2015, own
Comprising a gentle dose of humor deftly mixed in the world of professional thievery, Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr series is a lighter shade of crime fiction which also caters to those readers who like tension and a constant threat of violence on the horizon.

Bernie owns a bookstore and has seemingly given up the life of crime. However, when presented with a nice payday to retrieve a valuable book from a semi-serious collector, he can't refuse.

From that point forward, THE BURGLAR WHO LIKE
Yigal Zur
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fun reading. delightful
Sep 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: funny, whodunnit
Bernie the Burglar has retired. He's now selling antiquarian books. Don't we all dream of that kind of retirement? Only Bernie isn't pushing the business as much as he might, Bernie is still keeping his fingers gloved and on the look out for something fun to burgle. Enter a Rudyard Kipling enthusiast with a decidedly juicy proposition and Bernie's burglar tools are packed and ready to go, breathing holes cut in the palms of his rubber gloves.

The format is much as previous (and almost
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library, audible, 2019
This was one of the better books in this series. I really enjoyed learning more about Carolyn, as I've not been reading this series in order and had skipped this one completely.

The man who narrated this series on audiobook, Richard Ferrone, is a pretty talented guy, and the perfect voice for Bernie. If you're looking for a mystery series with humor and likeable characters, with little violence, this is a good one.
Roxana Chirilă
Reasons this book was boring:

1. The police doesn't use Bernie Rhodenbarr as a murder-detector yet - despite his tendency to stumble onto fresh or about-to-happen murder scenes.

2. All characters we already know (except Bernie and the cop) are discarded for a new cast, so Bernie can continue to have no developing relationships whatsoever.

3. The murder clues can be deciphered by nobody but Bernie while I give a damn, then the solutions are thrown at me when I no
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Another great entry in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series.

A big Kipling fan persuades Bernie to steal a precious and rare book by Rudyard Kipling. The only one of its kind. Bernie manages to steal it, but of course, he gets involved in a murder, too.

Very entertaining.
Nadine Larter
Over the weekend I was mock-pouting at my husband for "abandoning" me to go and run a marathon (seriously: why do folks in their 30s insist on this weird phenomenon?) and for the fact that I was up way too early on a Sunday morning because of his sudden need to sports. I then jokingly grumpy-yelled at him that he needed to go and find me a book to read and that he should be aware that the state of our relationship depended on his choice.

This is the book he brought me. I imagine it is because it
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
The plot got so convoluted that even the suspects were expressing confusion -- Block's puckish nod that his own story had gotten away from him? Regardless, still a fun read that succeeds more on Rhodenbarr's character than suspenseful plot, though there us enough of that to keep you guessing.

The dialogue, especially that with gay, dog-groomer pal, echoes wittier side of Block's Matthew Scudder. Carolyn was a delightful and substantial side-kick who added much to story.

A m
Noah Goats
Dec 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’ve just about read all the books in this series (this one is only #3 but I haven’t been reading them in order) and I can say that they are uniformly entertaining. Block employs his gifts for dialogue and humor to excellent effect in every one of the Burglar novels. It may not, on a fundamental level, make any sense for a burglar to be put into situations where he has to solve murders on a regular basis, but these books are so much fun I don’t care.
Book 3 in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series. Mind-candy reads. This is the second in series I have read. Despite the main character's on-again/off-again profession as a talented burglar, Block is able to make Bernie likable and sympathetic. The tone of Block's books are humorous and lighthearted. Bernie finds himself in serious scrapes resulting from his life of crime - such as becoming a murder suspect (more than once). A bright and literate burglar, he manages with the help of friends he develops a ...more
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm on a "The Burgler Who..." binge. Bernie is a fun protagonist, the books are just fun to read. If you have a problem with moral ambiguity (he IS a burglar), you might have a problem with these books, but the adept burglar who keeps stumbling over bodies, his lesbian best friend Carolyn, and "the best cop money can buy" are just fun to hang out with.
John Stewart
Feb 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like eating a box of Dove bars while you're supposed to be on a diet. Not much nutritional value but sure is fun.
Our dear gentleman burglar tries to go straight in this book (well sort of) as he sets up shop as the owner of an antiquarian bookstore. You see, Bernie Rhondenbarr, cat burglar though he may be, also loves to read and has had a life long passion for good literature.

Unfortunately, he couldn't resist stealing a rare Kipling edition and equally unfortunately, in doing so, he was once again framed for murder. However, he is a greater detective than any of the NYPD and was able to solve the murder
Norton Stone
I love a quick read, and I love good crime that demonstrates an author's grasp of history. Block puts enough real or potentially real stuff in to create interest in an unsurprising conclusion. I feel the Block template has periods where you know he is withholding information because disclosing it would mess with the summing up. The ending is very Agatha, but why not, the formula works. I like Blocks descriptions and the effortless pace. Romance for men.
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite book of the series so far,funnier then ever with lines like

“Wonderful. I can play it safe by sitting in a stolen car parked at a bus stop. Why don’t I just wait in the subway? I could cling to the third rail for security.”

Fictional Kipling poems " The Deliverance of Fort Bucklow" drives the story but it's all Bernie and Carolyn thatdrive the fun with excellent dialogue and a complicated mystery just perfect for a book lover.

Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a reason Lawrence Block is a Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster. Actually several reasons. Not only is Block a master of the craft with decades of accumulated storytelling skill, he is endlessly entertaining and can in fact craft a good mystery. Block has created several memorable series characters, such as Matthew Scudder, Keller, and of course Bernie Rhodenbarr-which brings us (in a roundabout fashion) to The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling. As is typical Bernie burgles himself ...more
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful read !!!
Jun 02, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Following the pattern laid down by our forefathers in the late 18th century, Mr. Block gives us another installment in clever writing and plotting. When I stumble upon a book that I like I usually try to go back to the start (or earliest available volume) and then read forward. I enjoy watching how the author and, if a series, characters develop over time. For some reason I jumbled up the order reading this story after a much later one ("The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza").

In a way it
Jul 08, 2011 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I'm not going to rate this because I didn't finish it. This is the 3d in the series & I knew what was going to happen before it did. It's not really any different than either of the other 2 books. Too similar to bother listening to now. Maybe in a year or two...
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So our hero settles down, and the bodies start biling up like cord wood. Love the series. Can't be too mad that the characters are international's a story, meant to entertain and entertain, it does.
Bernie, the burglar, now owns a bookshop. Has he reformed or is it just a cover? No and no. He is still stealing things and everyone seems to know it. They even seek him out in the shop to hire him for a little larceny. But, as usual, the latest caper gets him blamed for a murder that he didn't commit and He needs to clear himself before the police arrest him. Oh, Bernie, what are we going to do with you?!?

I don't read this series so much for the stories as for the author's conversat
Jeff Dickison
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another good entry into the "Burglar" series. In this one Bernie steals a rare Kipling book only to find it is not so rare. He also helps the best cop "that money could buy" obtain a fur for his (the cops') wife. This is a fun series that does not have to be read in order to enjoy. Recommended to fans of Block.
Donna Davis
Always amusing; there are a few remarks that are jarring today, but most of them are planted for reasons that become obvious later in the story. All told, a quick, fun comic caper.
This series was suggested to me by the man that taught me in the 6th grade. I check in with him around the winter holidays and we exchange book suggestions. Thanks, Mike.
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful caper mystery! I listened to the Recorded Books edition narrated by Richard Ferrone.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dancing Aztecs
  • Killing Castro (Hard Case Crime #51)
  • The Bookman's Wake (Cliff Janeway, #2)
  • Detective (Stanley Hastings #1)
See similar books…
Lawrence Block has been writing crime, mystery, and suspense fiction for more than half a century. He has published in excess (oh, wretched excess!) of 100 books, and no end of short stories.

Born in Buffalo, N.Y., LB attended Antioch College, but left before completing his studies; school authorities advised him that they felt he’d be happier elsewhere, and he thought this was remarkab

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 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 Library (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #8)
  • 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)
“Nobody’d believe a story like yours except a dyke who shaves dogs.” 0 likes
“I am the cat who walks by himself, and all places are alike to me.” 0 likes
More quotes…