Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Good Behavior (Dortmunder, #6)” as Want to Read:
Good Behavior (Dortmunder, #6)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Good Behavior

(Dortmunder #6)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,064 ratings  ·  66 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 May 1st 1986)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,064 ratings  ·  66 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Good Behavior (Dortmunder, #6)
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
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been a big fan of Mr. Westlake's noirish "Parker" series he writes under the Richard Stark pseudonym for years. I've been meaning to try his Dortmunder series, so I took the plunge with reading Good Behavior. John Dortmunder and his motley crew are professional thieves who this time get mixed up in a far-fetched caper with an order of nuns who've taken a vow of silence. The results are entertaining, diverting, and quite funny. Tiny is my favorite of Dortmunder's crew. When I'm in the mood f ...more
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, comedy
The perfect read for these troubled times, honestly.

This is an especially fun Dortmunder installment (that loses that fifth star only because there are a few plot threads that seem to bob up and then disappear without garnering enough laughs first). When one of poor Dortmunder's attempted robberies is interrupted by the police, he makes a sort-of escape that, with his luck, involves him winding up dangling from the rafters in the roof of a convent, full of nuns who have taken a vow of silence--n
Apr 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2018-19-season
The premise and set up are fine, but the third act is wacky, and not in a good, structured Marx brothers way - more in a 'the editor dropped the pages on deadline, didn't find them all, and put them together wrong' way. ...more
Fun, fluffy, maybe over-long, but a great conceit and good-humored. It reads like the treatment for a movie, which is actually kind of nice.
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.
Noah Goats
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Classic Westlake. This crime novel is fun and funny with great dialogue and hilariously goofy lowlife characters. I listened to the audiobook version of it on a long road trip and it made the miles fly by. The narrator really brought the novel’s comic aspects to life.
Nan Silvernail
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dortmunder rises to new heights! be accurate, he rises to the 76th floor of a skyscraper... to rescue a nun?!
All true. But, he'll need a crew and they'll want their palms all crossed with more than 30 pieces of silver.
Westlake pulls another fantastic heist out of his hat again.
Nov 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Dortmunders are good, this is no exception. Extremely quick read, pretty funny, clever plot.
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
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
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.
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. ...more
James Reyome
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
How do you pick from what is your (suddenly!) favorite book series? Well, you don't.

Seriously. It's silly. I've probably mentioned this in previously posted reviews but I am a latecomer to the Dortmunder party. "The Hot Rock" is a flawed movie, but it is fun, and it's of course based on the Westlake novel which began this series of books about what are either the unluckiest or most inept robbers in history. This title goes a bit further though...Dortmunder is actually CAUGHT in this one. Well, k
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
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is excellent! I think the entire Dortmunder series is worth reading but this one is the best so far in the series. The characters are maturing and the criminals are all competent but plagued by bad luck (I dislike the few where they don't seem to be as competent) and a lot of changes happen: May makes the transition from chain smoker to non smoker, Tiny (view spoiler) and the nuns are believable, likable, fu ...more
Rodger A. Payne
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a quick read, better than average for the Dortmunder series. The plot is silly of course, but that's the fun. No one wondered how a guy who had been in prison for decades could be counted on to open doors in a modern (1985) high security building? It didn't figure into the story, but it annoyed me from the moment they introduced the character -- and then the guy turned out to be pretty unlikeable (though he was perhaps written at the time as eccentric and humorous). ...more
Joe Rodeck
Oct 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
An order of nuns, to be practical, enlist a burglar whose special skills are needed to find and free one of their own. Gortmunder the burglar soon finds himself way over his head with a megalomaniac billionaire and his schemes to overthrow governments.

Lots of humor and a heroic young nun make this fun, though aspects of the story are too unbelievable or the author tries too hard for a laugh.
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.
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have read a few of Westlake's Dortmunder series. The humorous characters and the messes they find themselves in is ever entertaining. In this one Dortmunder drops in on an order of nuns that have taken a vow of silence. They ask him for a could he refuse? ...more
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recent Reads: Good Behavior. Donald Westlake's John Dortmunder is in trouble again; a failed heist has him owing a favour to some nuns. He must rescue a corporate princess (now nun) from a tower, dodging mercenaries and cops and hopefully running a little caper. Crime can be fun! ...more
Carol Jean
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Westlake is so clever! I don't know where he came up with all the ideas in this book, but they involve a burglary in a skyscraper, an imprisoned nun who has taken a vow of silence, and a billionaire raising an army to take over a South American country. TOO FUNNY! ...more
Paul Roof
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
It was alright, it just wasn't for me. ...more
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.... ...more
Luca Rotondo
Mar 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Not the best of the Dortmunder series but still always fun to read
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great Dortmunder read - such a fun series!
Masayuki Arai
Jul 09, 2018 rated it liked it
record lol
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Outfit (Parker, #3)
  • The Mourner (Parker, #4)
  • The Man With The Getaway Face (Parker, #2)
  • The Score (Parker, #5)
  • The Stranger Times
  • Cop Hater (87th Precinct, #1)
  • The Jugger (Parker, #6)
  • Donald E. Westlake: Series Reading Order: A Read to Live, Live to Read Checklist [Phil Crawford Series, Parker Series, Mitchell Tobin Series, Alan Grofield Series, Dortmunder Series, Sam Holt Series]
  • Plunder Squad (Parker, #15)
  • Backflash (Parker, #18)
  • The Hunter (Parker, #1)
  • Comeback (Parker, #17)
  • Powder Burn
  • The Quiet Man (McGarry Stateside, #3)
  • Kinds Of Love, Kinds Of Death (Mitch Tobin, #1)
  • The League of Frightened Men (Nero Wolfe, #2)
  • You Can Date Boys When You're Forty: Dave Barry on Parenting and Other Topics He Knows Very Little About
  • The Seventh (Parker, #7)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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)
  • Bank Shot (Dortmunder, #2)
  • Jimmy The Kid (Dortmunder, #3)
  • 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)

Related Articles

If you ask us, it's always the perfect time to lose yourself in a page-turning mystery. To help you sleuth out a new read, we asked the...
171 likes · 101 comments
“The multinational is in the position of the bank robber in the old West; all he has to do is ride straight and hard to be safe, because the posse can’t cross the border. We have taken over the roles that nations recently held; we wage war, collect taxes through debt service, protect our areas of property and the worker/citizens within those areas, and we distribute power as we see fit.”

Think of it this way. I am the baron. Templar international and Margrave Corporation and Avalon State Bank and so on are the castles I have built in different parts of my territory, for defense and expansion. The subsidiary companies we’ve bought or merged with owe their allegiance not to America but to Margrave. We reward loyalty and punish disloyalty. When necessary, we can protect our most important people from the laws of the state, just as the earlier barons could protect their most important vassal knights from the laws of the Catholic Church. The work force is tied to us by profit-sharing and pension plans. I don’t expect national governments to disappear, any more than the British or Dutch royal families have disappeared, but they will become increasingly irrelevant pageants. More and more, actors will play the parts of politicians and statesmen, while the real work goes on elsewhere.”
More quotes…