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Good Behavior

(Dortmunder #6)

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  801 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
(6th Title in the Dortmunder series)
John Dortmunder's one of the slyest burglars going. But by God, he has bad luck! While fleeing the police during his latest caper, he falls through the roof of the Silent Sisterhood of St. Filumena -- and tumbles into the lap of trouble. It's an act of God, the sisters exclaim. Only the Creator himself could have sent this criminal just
Paperback, 256 pages
Published 1989 by Star (first published 1985)
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After a couple of weeks of expensive home repairs, tornado sirens regularly wailing in the background and reading Emma Donoghue’s excellent but ultra-depressing Room, I really needed a laugh. Fortunately, I had a Donald Westlake Dortmunder novel I hadn’t read yet mounted in a glass box on the wall with a sign that read: BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY NEED FOR CHUCKLES And once again, Westlake came through for me.

Sad-sack thief John Dortmunder is fleeing across New York rooftops from a botch
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of my favorites in the Dortmunder series.
Susan Katz
I love Dortmunder, period. Who could resist a man with hair-colored hair and the world's most unstoppable bad luck? But in this book Westlake outdoes himself, landing Dortmunder in a convent of silent nuns, where his first act is to play a game of charades designed to inform him that they've taken a vow of silence. Seeking words that rhyme with pow, he runs through bow, cow, dow, fow (though the look on their faces when he says fow make him skip gow). When communications are established, he find ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still funny.

Man, I love the Dortmunder novels. They still make me laugh often. These days, I do not ask for more from a book. So satisfying.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Dortmunders are good, this is no exception. Extremely quick read, pretty funny, clever plot.
Jason Reeser
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This might be one of the best Dortmunder books that Westlake has given us. There are the usual fun antics as well as dire straits for our depressed sort-of-hero John Dortmunder. However, the straits are not as dire as they get in other books, which I was glad to see. I get a little tired of the exaggerated bad luck that Dortmunder and his crew run into. What I enjoy is the seemingly pedestrian bad luck that pesters them. I think this is one of the better stories for the character Andy Kelp. He i ...more
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Dec 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
"Mancò la fortuna, non il valore"

Dortmunder ha un piano assolutamente GENIALE per arricchirsi (e far pace con la sua coscienza, rappresentata da May :D), niente può andar storto.
Peccato (per lui) che lo faccia e che intervengano i più disparati fattori, as usual. Tanto meglio per il lettore che ride dall'inizio alla fine!!!!!

Grazie Westlake ♥
Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was/am a big fan of the Dortmunder series, but this one holds a special place in my heart because it contains one of Westlake's funniest scenes ever: Dortmunder stuck in a meeting of mercenary soldiers. If I'm ever in a bad mood, I only need remember poor John trying to curse like a merc and I'm cheered immediately.
Aug 14, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I’m a huge fan of Westlake’s books featuring hapless burglar John Dortmunder, but this one is special. Thieves, nuns (silent nuns, no less), a Trump-esque evil businessman, a cult deprogrammer, and a private army of mercenaries combine with an insane plot to rescue a kidnapped novice nun to make one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
Because of their comic nature, you always expect Dortmunder capers to only just barely be successful. This would be a good stopping point for the series, if that were the goal, but it's not, so there will be more ineptitude and miscommunication and sighing for our long suffering hero.

One of the more enjoyable ones (because of the success of the caper ultimately?), Westlake puts John through the ringer this time in more horrid ways that previous novels, replete with Biblical allusions since the h
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone

There have been a lot of funny scenes in the several Dortmunder books that I have read. Rather than write detailed synopses or quote sections I have provided only overviews in the hope of enticing others to read these books without spoiling them. Ion keeping with that method, I might describe Good Behavior as a book that could have been subtitled: “You Rescue Me and I’ll Rescue You”. More on that later.

Like all of the stories, there is a situation that presents an opportunity for a heist. There
Jul 15, 2017 rated it liked it
(Audiobook) — Escaping from one bad situation, professional criminal John Dortmunder falls into another one. The usual cast of characters take on a new caper with high stakes — will this be the time they pull it off? Well read by Brian Holsopple.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great Dortmunder read - such a fun series!
Jeff P
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rescuing the nun didn't go as planned for Dortmunder and the gang....
Samuel P.
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was alright, it just wasn't for me.
Luca Rotondo
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Not the best of the Dortmunder series but still always fun to read
Masayuki Arai
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
record lol
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding Westlake treasure. This one expands Dortmunder characters. Plot twists move the plot in unexpected direction. Good Good story.
Mar 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, humor
Good Behavior I had one of those commuter days where I had to change trains a lot in order to get to Chicago’s McCormick Place in order to meet a friend. Knowing I was going to spend a large part of my day on trains, I took Good Behavior with me. I finished it on my way home that night. That means it read relatively quickly. It’s a fast-moving story with, to me, familiar characters and familiar elements.

That isn’t to say that this book which is almost Dortmunder meets Mission: Impossible meets T
Aug 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Another installment in the misadventures of thief John Dortmunder and his gang of thieves. In this one he becomes involuntarily involved helping a convent of nuns, and trying to enrich himself at the same time.

This one surprised me a bit. There was an interesting twist half way through that had me thinking the ending was going in one direction, but that turned out not to be the case either. A bit different to the others in the series and well worth the read.
Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: completed
The "Dortmunder" novels by Donal Westlake are a demonstration of Murphy's Law for criminals. They are heist novels where during a carefully planned, almost perfect heist, something (at times a number of somethings) goes wrong-- always!!! How the gang works their way through the difficulties is nothing short of a criminal version of Mission Impossible, part con, part trick, part luck.

In "Good Behavior" a typical caper lands John Dortmunder into nunnery, where the nuns cannot speak due to a vow of
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Dortmunder falls into a convent full of silent nuns who, despite just about everything about him, see him as a Godsend, just the man they need to rescue their sister, kidnapped by her obscenely wealthy father and held for deprogramming on the top floor of a Manhattan skyscraper. This is not the sort of thing John does. It's not even the sort of thing John approves of, but he hatches a scheme and puts together a string and before you know it there's burgling and rescuing going on and everything m ...more
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another fine outing from Don Westlake of the unlucky thief John Dortmunder and his merry band of rogues. If you're a fan of offbeat crime fiction then the Dortmunder series is a must. I started out reading Don Westlake's (writing under the pseudonym of Richard Stark) Parker books and came to those purely by chance as a big fan Elmore Leonard's work. The books are a cross between the gritty classic crime noir, written from a criminal's perspective, and the comic humour of Carl Hiaasen that brings ...more
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This nifty Dortmunder title starts with a bang. The hapless burglar finds himself up high on a rafter in the ceiling of a cloister where scads of nuns are silently contemplating the Divine. His rescue and consequent need to explain himself to women who've taken a vow of silence had me doubled over. And there are the wonderful and obligatory tropes--scenes in the OJ bar, where the regulars demonstrate their epic ignorance, descriptions of Tiny, in all his massiveness, and plot complications multi ...more
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humorous
When times are tough and I'm about to give up on the human race (which happens a lot since the emergence of the Tea Party), I turn to the caper novels of the late lamented Donald Westlake. Humor is harder than it sounds, and Westlake was a master. John Dortmunder and his hapless gang of burglars always make me laugh, even on a second or third reading.
I was trying to forget about Trump, but Frank Ritter, the plutocrat who owns the New York skyscraper where this burglary takes place, is eerily lik
Daniel Marleau
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Starts off a bit slow, but once Dortmunder has agreed to the caper and assembles the usual team, then things take off. The finale is a hoot with some clever twists and unexpected obstacles, all of which, Dortmunder and team overcome with not so much with skill, but their pursuers ineptitude. A funny new team member is a lock pick extraordinaire named Wilbur, who has spent more time in the slammer than being on the outside, and talks as if he were still in the 1940s. Making up for lost time, he's ...more
Oct 20, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Δεν θα σταματήσω να γκρινιάζω που ο Westlake δεν έχει μεταφραστεί στα ελληνικά. Δράση και ανατρεπτικό χιούμορ σε φόντο μιας "άλλης" Νέας Υόρκης στα τέλη της δεκαετίας του 70, αρχές του 80, με κάποια απομεινάρια των χίππυς και ψήγματα των γιάπις... Ο Westlake τους κοροϊδεύει όλους και δε διστάζει να επιστρατεύσει το σιωπηλό τάγμα των μοναχών (όλες Μαρίες) της Αγίας Φιλομένης για να τα βάλει μ' ένα τάγμα μισθοφόρων που ετοιμάζονται για πραξικόπημα σε μια φανταστική(;) μακρινή χώρα.
Denise M.
Sep 13, 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
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second favorite Donald E Westlake book (behind The Spy in the Ointment) and my most favorite Dortmunder story. Like many of my old faves I revisit this one from time to time. Makes me laugh every time. Light, funny, good characters, easy read.
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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

Other books in the series

Dortmunder (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • The Hot Rock (Dortmunder, #1)
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  • Nobody's Perfect (Dortmunder, #4)
  • Why Me? (Dortmunder, #5)
  • Drowned Hopes (Dortmunder, #7)
  • Don't Ask (Dortmunder, #8)
  • What's The Worst That Could Happen? (Dortmunder, #9)
  • Bad News (Dortmunder, #10)
  • The Road To Ruin (Dortmunder, #11)

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