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The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian (Bernie Rhodenbarr #5)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  2,067 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
America's favorite bookseller-by-day, burglar-by-night has returned in The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian. The fifth entry in Lawrence Block's popular series, it's the book readers have been waiting for to complete their Bernie Rhodenbarr collections.Bernie is back. Now, he must uncover the relation between the disappearance of his best friend's cat and the ransom -- a ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 289 pages
Published June 1st 1999 by Wheeler Publishing (first published 1983)
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Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: whodunnit, funny
The fifth Burglar book is, as we've come to expect from Block, an absolute pleasure to read from start to finish. The series is very much a by the numbers affair with your basic plot reused from one book to the next - namely the burglar must prove that he didn't murder somebody whilst keeping the fact that he was stealing something very valuable out of the equation - but it's all of the surrounding detail that our supreme storyteller adds to things that make it the delight that it is. Bernie is ...more
Mike French
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another very entertaining and enjoyable book in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series! Kept me interested from start to the end.
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Little by little, I'm chipping away at this series featuring New York bookstore owner and occasional burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr - and every one has been a treat. The ending of this one, the fifth, I believe, had my head in a bit of a spin trying to keep all the lines in the Mondrian paintings straight (pun intended), but it was one of the most enjoyable so far.

Bernie is approached by a wealthy gentlemen who wants an appraisal of the old books in the library of his swanky apartment. While he's the
Mar 02, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Okay, I’ve avoided these books because I thought they were a low-rent version of Westlake’s Dortmunder series. I was wrong. They are a high-rent version of Dortmunder. At least, in this one, the protagonist has a higher grade of “clients.” And, at least in this one, the conclusion works out better than in the average Dortmunder novel. To be sure, I feel like the zany antics of Westlake’s crew and the sense that their elaborate schemes are going to get somehow twisted are actually more fun than B ...more
Mary Ellen
Jun 14, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of light mysteries with a sense of humor
Shelves: mysteries
I love the humor in this series, featuring antiquarian-bookseller-by-day, burglar-by-night Bernie Rhodenbarr. The humor was definitely intact here, but I had trouble keeping track of the Mondrians, the various apartments, and some of the characters, in this one. Perhaps all of this is attributable to me, reading quickly and lazily, and not to the book. But, a major plot thread was rather poorly resolved, IMHO, and that earned it 3, rather than 4, stars. Still, I read Bernie for the humor more th ...more
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Argh. I erased everything I wrote. So, the second try is going to be briefer.

This entry in the series is worth a full "4". No reverse points-shaving to get a "3.7" or similar up to the next whole star. Good plot, good character interactions, good writing. Bernie robs, thinks he is in the clear and then life gets very, very complicated.

Multiple homicides, a cat-napping, and a few close body doubles make this a very good book. We get a few secondary characters back into the series and some fine an
Megan Baxter
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the story of The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian, but the denouement leaves much to be desired. Most of the Burglar-Who books end with a drawing-room-style reveal, but this is the only one I can think of where the reader knows practically no one in the drawing room. As it is explained, it's all perfectly logical, but the fact that we haven't met six or seven of the major players until the end makes the ending fairly weak. In fact, this was at least the second or third time I've read thi ...more
Apr 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As in all the Lawrence Block burglar books, the dialogue in this one is quite witty, and the plot is extremely complicated. There is a (probably) authentic Mondrian, several obvious fakes, and several very convincing (probable) fakes being stolen, substituted, and replaced; two murders of which our hero Bernie is the most obvious suspect, except that he and we know he didn't do them. How much he has done of the other stuff is related in a mildly annoying way as he coyly keeps secret exactly what ...more
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This particular story was a little hard to follow, but funny and informative as usual. And talking about "as usual", just about every Bernie Rhodenbarr book I've read so far can be summed up in a few sentences...

Bernie: *burgles some unlucky bastard*
Some unlucky bastard: *turns up dead*
Ray: Darn it, Bernie, you've never been a violent man, why start now?
Ray: Just confess already. Oh, and I want half of what's in your wallet, your shoes and your puppy. Just
This was okay. I really like the Bernie Rhodenbarr character and Block's writing, but the formula is basically: Bernie steals something and gets charged with a murder he didn't commit, then Bernie figures out the mystery without letting the reader in on the details, then Bernie invites all the people involved in the crime to a gathering and reveals to them, and the reader, who the murderer is. This book is late in the series so I'm going to go back to the first few books to see if the storylines ...more
Sally Lindsay-briggs
The main character owns a book store in the 1980's but he makes most of his income as a very gifted burglar. He even steals valuable stamps, which is not a common hobby any more. My husband is an avid stamp collector and I was able to recognize one of the stolen stamps as an Inverted Jenny. Bernie's thefts get him embroiled in two murders and he helps paint a copy of an abstract painting by Mondrian. The original painting was extremely valuable. The story was a good whodunit, well written and a ...more
Harry Lane
Block is a prolific writer; Rhodenbarr one of his more amusing creations. In this outing, Bernie is initially roped into going after a cat burglar (as opposed to being one.) However, he gets up to usual activities quickly enough, and then finds himself accused of not one, but two murders. Hi-jinks ensue as he tries to clear his name whilst not admitting to having been in various places he should not have been. You will need a program guide to keep track of who did what to whom in the denouement.
I will freely admit to being as confused as Bernie's right hand Carolyn Kaiser by his every-which-way explanation of the various interconnecting crimes and misdirections, but the use of youth protesters as a diversionary tactic made me laugh rather heartily.
Richard White
Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
Loved it again or maybe again and again.
Brandon Bundy
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'What tangled webs we weave, when we set out to deceive' is about the best quote which I can attribute toward the life and times of one Bernard Rhodenbarr. This must be the most complex set of misfortune circumstances our beloved burglar has found himself entangled in, and somehow, someway, he manages to survive.

I found the cat subplot a bit weak but the murder mystery was indeed good, as was the threat posed by the Charlemagne - though Bernie works his way inside not once, not twice, not even j
Gabor Nyiro
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Bernie ismét hozza a szokásos vicces figurát, szerethető betörő furábbnál furább barátokkal. A történet nem egy nagy durranás, sőr egy kicsit el is lehet veszni a részletekben, hogy ki mikor mit fest vagy nem fest, de egynek elmegy.
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-suspense, fun, block
My kind of book: quick, sly, cute, with a touch of mystery. Bernie is portrayed by William Powell (The Thin Man), BTW.
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was ok. Not as good as his previous Bernie Rhodenbarr stories. This one was rather hard to follow at the end.
Jason Edwards
I do like these Lawrence Block novels and I am willing to give the man the benefit of the doubt, and put my trust in him, even when I think maybe he’s phoning it in. Like how all these Bernie novels have a scene where he gathers everyone in a room and does the big reveal, right?

So I’ll let that go. But not random sex with a chance encounter when Bernie’s burglaring an apartment. Even putting aside the gratuitous side of things, it’s just not believable. At all. And even if you find a way to twis
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lawrence-block
The "burglar" series is a funny, at times hilarious, series by Lawrence Block. Bernie, the star of the books, is a burglar by night and bookseller by day. He abhors violence and doesn't kill. Nevertheless, in the course of burglarizing, he often either stumbles across a body or one is found left behind a place he just burgled or else he can't prove an alibi for where he was because he was busy burglarizing someone else's home. The books are filled with humor, coincidences, and often Bernie being ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh no once again or Burglar has to prove that he hadn't done it. This time it is all based on a Painting by Mondrian...or is it. Turns out that there is a great number of things going on in regards to paintings and who owns or doesn't own this particular one. As with most of the Burglar mysteries the joy isn't figuring out who really did do it along with or Man Bernie. But in the trip to get there.
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Είναι το πέμπτο βιβλίο με ήρωα τον συμπαθητικό παλαιοβιβλιοπώλη και διαρρήκτη Μπέρνι Ρόντενμπαρ που διαβάζω, μου φάνηκε το ίδιο καλό και ευχάριστο με τα προηγούμενα τέσσερα.

Η δουλειά του παλαιοβιβλιοπώλη, αν και ευχάριστη για κάποιον που λατρεύει τα βιβλία, σίγουρα δεν είναι ιδιαίτερα επικερδής. Γι'αυτό και ο Μπέρνι δεν έκοψε το συνήθειο να κάνει καμιά διάρρηξη που και που. Εδώ που τα λέμε, και να έβγαζε πολλά λεφτά από το παλαιοβιβλιοπωλείο, δεν πιστεύω ότι θα σταματούσε τις διαρρήξεις. Αυτές
Matt Allen
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads
I'll admit, while I'd enjoyed the last couple of Burglar books, they didn't have the zip of the first two. The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian cured that whipfast.

Block is, in my experience, fantastic. I'm more of a Scudder guy, but the Bernie series is fun for a light read. This entry may have the best dialogue of any of the books I've read of Block's, Scudders included. Sharp, fast, characters whipsawing barbs to and fro--there are several scenes, as a reader, where I felt in the presence of
Scott K
This was my 5th of Lawrence Bock's Bernie Rhodenbarr and the storyline is pretty much like all the others. Bernie a career burglar who owns bookstore of rare and used books but his true bread and butter comes as he schemes a burglary, someone concede to the burglary gets murdered, Bernie gets accused and sets out to find the real killer and of course does after some elaborate planning that brings all the suspects together at the end with Bernie going through a mind shaking explanation.

Along the
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aside from the good mystery -- Bernie always gets himself into some kind of scrape that he has to dig himself out of by solving the crime he has been accused of -- the books have great repartee. I burst out loud laughing several times. Bernie has just stumbled into another thief (female) in an apartment he was burgling while attempting to steal a Mondrian. He needed the money to pay ransom for a cat that was stolen from his good friend Carolyn (Did I mention the wacky plots?) So Bernie and this ...more
Gerald Sinstadt
Lawrence Block is heir to some celebrated writers of mystery stories: Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers and John Dickson Carr among them. The format entails posing a seemingly impossible crime and unravelling it in the last chapter or two. If this can be accomplished by gathering all the suspects together in one room, so much the better.

Often the clues were so esoteric, or the mechanics to byzantine, there was a sense of anti-climax - at worst, of having been set a puzzle no one could have been
Feb 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#5 in the Burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr series. Our favorite Greenwich Village bookseller, who dabbles in larcenous activities, is back in this 1983 series entry after The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza (1980).

Burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr series - It's not that used bookstore owner and part-time burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr believes the less legal of his two professions is particularly ethical. (It is, however, a rush, and he is very good at it.) He just thinks it's unfair to face a prison term for his legit
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone after a light quick enjoyable read
The sharp, wise-cracking hero of The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian is a likeable character. An antiquarian bookseller by day, Bernie makes his living as a burglar by night. When a painting is stolen from an apartment where he had been asked to do an evaluation on some books, Bernie is neatly put into the frame. You may groan, but it is the play with language that makes the book worth reading. Bernie, of course, solves the case but while he considers himself an ethical burglar (stealing from ...more
Ellen Behrens
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somehow, in all the books I've read, I've managed to miss a Bernie Rhodenbarr episode from Lawrence Block. When I saw the subject was art in this one -- Mondrian in particular -- I knew it would be a great place to start. Though I was a little out of whack about his relationship to his best bud until a few scenes between them had passed (assumption being I would have read another Bernie book and would just KNOW, I guess), the story is without a doubt a great way to "meet" Bernie, his friends and ...more
Jim Mann
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr mysteries are an entertaining series, full of good characters, witty dialog, and literate references. Bernie is an ex (sort of) burglar who owns a used bookstore in New York City. Sometimes for fun, sometimes for other reasons, he gets back into burglary, but then usually winds up in a situation where he has to solve a murder to prove his innocence.

In The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian Bernie breaks into an apartment to steal a Mondrian, to meet a ransom de
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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
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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 Liked to Quote Kipling (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #3)
  • The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza (Bernie Rhodenbarr, #4)
  • 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)

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