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The Burglar on the Prowl

(Bernie Rhodenbarr #10)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  2,160 ratings  ·  159 reviews
A philosophical yet practical gentleman, Bernie Rhodenbarr possesses many admirable qualities: charm, intelligence, sparkling wit, and unwavering loyalty. Of course, he also has this special talent and a taste for life's finer things. So he's more than willing to perform some vengeful larceny for a friend -- ripping off a smarmy, particularly deserving plastic surgeon -- f ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published January 25th 2005 by HarperTorch (first published January 1st 2001)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,160 ratings  ·  159 reviews

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Start your review of The Burglar on the Prowl (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #10)
Aug 07, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people comfortable with date rape
Shelves: mystery, male-lead, yuck
If you are willing to gloss over ethical and character problems in a significant character relationship, it might theoretically be an entertaining read.

Seriously, Block. What's the author of the finely tuned Matt Scudder mysteries thinking? Please tell me this was subbed out to a ghost writer, because your introduction of the Barbara Creely character is awful.

Burglar stared off promising, with a unique voice compared to Block's other works, and with a man who clearly enjoyed his illegal activiti
Mar 10, 2020 rated it liked it

In this 10th book in the comical 'Bernie Rhodenbarr' mystery series, the professional thief/amateur sleuth investigates a nefarious scheme. The book can be read as a standalone.


New Yorker Bernie Rhodenbarr has two sources of income - he's a used bookstore owner and a burglar.

Bernie's larcenous proclivities are well known to his friends, who'll sometimes even tag along on a break-in. The cops also know that Bernie's a thief, but - much to their chagrin - they can't quite catch him with the
Jun 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2004-reads
The prolific Lawrence Block is at it again with THE BURGLAR ON THE PROWL, the tenth book in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series. Thankfully, Block never loses his skill at creating an excellent tale featuring the antiquarian book seller cum burglar.

The book opens with a friend of Bernie's, Marty Gilmartin, asking for his help. His mistress has given him up for another, and Marty wants to avenge the act by having Bernie rob the affluent plastic surgeon, Crandall Roundtree Mapes. Since burgling is in Be
Mike French
Dec 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bernie Rhodenbarr strikes again! Very enjoyable and entertaining book from Lawrence Block.
David Highton
Sep 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Another convoluted plot for our bookshop owner and slightly reluctant burglar, as a number of different threads come together, involving date-rape, plastic surgery, Latvian exiles and much more. With a happy ending. For me, not the best of the Bernie books.
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, kindle
I found the entry in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series disappointing. The mystery was convoluted (which isn't necessarily a bad thing) but Bernie's involvement seemed too tangential. Plus, Bernie himself was not his usual charming and fun self...

My Kindle edition had some short pieces by Block about the series and a short story "The Burglar Who Dropped in on Elvis", which was entertaining.
Una Tiers
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
The dialogue was light and clear. However when I reached the part where the character hid under the bed and let someone get hurt, I stopped reading. Shame on you Lawrence.
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
You'd think by now I'd be a bit tired of reading the books featuring Manhattan bookstore owner and occasional thief Bernie Rhodenbarr - this is the 10th in the series - especially since the formula doesn't change much. Bernie sets out on a mission to steal, Bernie gets "cornered" while inside, someone gets bumped off and Bernie becomes the suspect, Bernie figures the whole thing out and gathers all the potential culprits together for a "come to Jesus" meeting and everyone lives happily ever afte ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
Bernie Rhodenbarr is just too much fun. I suppose, all things being equal, I'm not supposed to like the burglar/criminal. But Bernie? He's such a good-hearted fellow. His burglary business is sort of like a compulsion that he knows he should stop, that it really isn't the way things are supposed to be. He simply can't help himself. He learned at a young age that he has an aptitude for picking locks and, what the heck, why not go with what you're good at?
"A wall safe? I never yet found a really
Daniel Sevitt
Another slice of Rhodenbarr sponge... drizzled with whisky, probably Laphroaig. Formulaic to a fault with even Block signposting his lazy adherence to the cliche:

... what a less original narrator might characterize as that fateful day...

And, yet, not without its charms. Perhaps more than most, this featherlight book is built on silly coincidences, but Block makes them a feature and brazens his way to another satisfying conclusion.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, crime
Bernie is asked to help out a friend get revenge. That simple act lead to Bernie, diving through milk chutes, hiding under a bed, getting shot at and robbed before he manages to acquire a girlfriend, add to his Get Out of Dodge fund, and maybe bring a Russian war criminal to justice while assisting Ray in burnishing his reputation. A fun read!
Mar 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
This is my first read from this author. No way would I read anymore past the rape and the absurd discussion with by the robber and his friends about his robbery gone awry. Appalling!
The protagonist burglar, who has robbed the victim’s apartment, stays under the bed while the roofied woman gets raped??? WTF ? After the rapist leaves, then he “straightens up her apartment” cause he “feels bad” that she was raped, and the rapist stole money out of her wal
Jan 20, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disclosure: I quit reading at the 65% mark.

Now in order to review it I'm going to need to borrow this doll:

Bad Touch

But first I want to say a little about how I came to be in the situation where this book was able to give me the "bad touch". When I was a kid I found Lawrence Block's Burglar series at the library and loved it. I enjoyed them immensely and wished there were more of them. So recently when I learned LB was issuing some old stuff including some Burglar short stories as ebooks I snagged a few
Claire Grasse
May 14, 2009 rated it liked it
Bernie Rhodenbarr is a burglar who only targets the wealthy, and who generally only steals valuable objets d'art, or very rare collectibles, mostly from undeserving jerks, which I guess is supposed to make it OK. Most of the "Burglar" books contain some kind of Sexcapade or other, and as Bernie's best friend is a lesbian, her romantic ventures must usually creep into the plot line somewhere. I could personally do without all of that, but I do have to tip my hat to the author for at least skimmin ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mystery and crime novel fans
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
May 29, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-cozy, block
This disappointing book was not as entertaining as most of the series. The subplots of Latvian persecution and ruphenol date rape are a dark undercurrent to the usual crazy capers. When the witty banter is missing.
Dec 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My second time through this book. I collect Lawrence Block who always entertains with personable characters and plot twists that are unexpected but fun. So I decided to line up my "Burglar Who" series and read from oldest (copyright date) to newest. This is the newest in my collection, copyrighted in 2004.

This is probably the twistiest book in the series. It shows a Bernie that, although he really would like to reform giving in to his burgling urges, just cannot. After going through the entire s
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lawrence-block
In a hilariously funny tale of the most striking coincidences, Bernie finds himself trapped under a homeowner's bed when she returns home from a date with her date, finds himself accused of a burglary and multiple murder he didn't do, and rushes out of his bookstore to see a customer gunned down. Much of the book is dialogue and witty thoughts. It is intentionally funnier and lighter than the Matthew Scudder series, but it is not difficult to see the connections between the two series. Both take ...more
Mar 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
I spent some time finding the right audio edition to recommend: the unabridged version recorded by BBC's Audiobooks America in 2004. The reader, Nick Sullivan, has the vocal flexibility and impeccable timing to make the most of the subtle word usage and hilarious dialogue typical of the Bernie Rhodenbarr series.

Lawrence Block is a prolific author, and those familiar with only his very popular Matthew Scudder books should be happy to know that, in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series, he's as skillful wi
Susan Hulstine
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Block is a great writer and this book has many of the good qualities of the rest if this series, however it was much darker. Bernie hides under a bed while a woman is date raped, which as a woman I found very disturbing. Also, this book had much more profanity than the other burglar books I've read. Later in the book, the woman who was raped lets loose a long string of nauseating expletives that could make a sailor blush. The plot was also more confusing. I finished it, but really didn't like it ...more
Mar 22, 2008 rated it it was ok
This was a fun book, and I would definitely read others from the Burglar series, next time I'm looking for a light mystery (that also provides tips on breaking and entering -- always a plus). I might have bumped this up to three stars if there hadn't been one incident in the story that icked me out a little. I'm still thinking about why it bothered me -- is it because the author treated the incident too lightly, or because it bothered me that a character I wanted to like lacked chivalry and ball ...more
May 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, cozies
Bernie Rhodenbarr is at loose ends. He recently broke up with his girlfriend, and things just aren't going right with his life, so he goes on the prowl.

Randomly breaking into an apartment, he witnesses a date rape. Then, of course, there's a murder in the neighborhood, and good ole Ray wants to finger Bernie.

So once again, Bernie goes into the breach, burgling and detecting, finding an age old revenge plot, a crime doctor, and assorted other threads before he gets to the solution.

Good stuff, lik
Brian Layman
Apr 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2009
Lawrence Block is VERY good at making you like people on the other side of the law. My favorite of all of his characters is Bernie Rhodenbarr. This, his tenth book of the series, is his best Bernie book to date. Aside from admiring Bernie's impeccable style and somewhat peccalbe class, I almost always learn something culturally from these books. This book, while a tribute to coincidences, is no exception...

I can't wait for book 11...
The “Burglar” series books are always charming and this one is no exception. Bernie is on the prowl for a score but is soon (as usual) enmeshed in a murder that brings new meaning to the word “complicated.” The plot is intricate and the “long arm of coincidence” sets off his internal alarms and you might think it overreaches, but these books are read for the style and dialogues. In classic style, Bernie gets everyone together for the final denouement.

Lots of fun.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is my first Bernie Rhodenbarr novel. One would think that starting a series at book #10 might be wasn't. Upon starting reading I had a sense that I was reading Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. Witty and a taste of old English. Little did I know that it was contemporary and based in New York City. Bernie is a thief. A rather honest and sentimental burglar. How can we enjoy the persona of a thief? Well we can. I highly recommend The Burglar and Block.
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. It has the same funny, light hearted humor as the other books in the series. But the plot centers around sexual assault. This series, like most other “cozy mysteries”, makes light of murder, burglary, and other crimes. But something about using sexual assault as a plot device was upsetting to me. So maybe skip this one in the series. I wouldn’t read it again.
David Monroe
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was ok
The first and probably only book I'll read in this series. It lost me at the rape scene.
Whistlers Mom
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time I read a new Bernie Rhodenbarr book I'm surprised again at how good this series is and how much I enjoy reading them. Author Lawrence Block claims that Bernie's life and adventures show the light, bright side of New York City, but I'm not sure many of his readers will agree. Bernie is, after all, a professional thief. This book contains a murder and a rape and tax evasion and money laundering and some other stuff. Block is comparing Bernie's New York to his Mathew Scudder series. Next ...more
Craig Childs
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Bernie agrees to knock off a sleazy doctor's wall safe as a favor to a friend. While he usually prides himself on his detailed planning and caution, he nevertheless gets an irresistible urge to "go on the prowl" and burgle a random apartment two nights before this job. Big mistake…

"When a burglar goes on the prowl, he's improvising. Now improvisation is vastly useful in the arts, and in jazz it's fundamental; when a jazz musician gives himself free rein to improvise, he finds himself playing no
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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 remarkably perceptiv

Other books in the series

Bernie Rhodenbarr (1 - 10 of 12 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 Library (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #8)
  • The Burglar in the Rye (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #9)
  • The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #11)

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