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Don't Ask

(Dortmunder #8)

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  1,147 ratings  ·  63 reviews
Si John Dortmunder n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer. Le spécialiste du hold-up impossible et ses habituels complices sont tombés sur un os. Pas n'importe lequel toutefois, puisqu'il s'agit du fémur d'une jeune martyre du XIIIe siècle qui fut canonisée par l'Eglise. La relique est convoitée par deux pays rivaux : la Tsergovie et le Votskojek. Celui qui pourra la produ ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published April 16th 2010 (first published 1993)
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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 ·  1,147 ratings  ·  63 reviews

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Dan Schwent
Dortmunder and company get hired to steal the femur of St. Ferghana so that Tsergovia will get the favor of an archbishop and be admitted into the United Nations. Unfortunately, things go south, Dortmunder winds up kidnapped and Andy Kelp leads the charge to steal the bone a second time. Will Dortmunder and company ever get paid?

The Dortmunder books are like a visit with a lovable gang of losers. At first, you love them but after a while you just want them to leave you alone. That's why I rated
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: x2018-19-season
As with the preceding entry in the series, cutting it down by a third would have doubled the enjoyment.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
In my review of What’s the Worst That Could Happen?, I mentioned that I had discovered that it was not the first Dortmunder book. The catalyst for that was seeing mention of this book, Don’t Ask, on the dust jacket. Which I immediately went out and requested – thinking it was the first book. In due course, I finally realized (as noted in the other review) that the new catalog software had really messed me up. A fact that has been borne out looking for other works, also. But that won’t stop m ...more
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noirboiled
The International Parker Theorem states: The more Parker gets involved in international intrigue, the less interesting he becomes. Its corollary, the International Dortmunder Theorem, states: The more a Dortmunder novel becomes involved in international intrigue, the sillier it becomes. And this is Westlake's constant artistic battle in the Dortmunder books: to negotiate the fine line between funny and silly, to not get lazy and descend into fart jokes. Don't Ask begins in the general realm of t ...more
An Odd1
John calls in his gang to steal a relic that will win a UN seat for one of two tiny E. European countries. The plot gets more complicated, accusations wilder. (view spoiler)
Jul 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my very favorite Dortmunder novels. A pleasure to re-read, marred only by the sadness of knowing that there will never be another. I am particularly fond of Dortmunder's revenge in this one, especially since he often never gets his revenge. Here, however, the thrills and the laughs are oh so good. Also, I could genuinely see Dortmunder here as a Redford gone slightly to seed. (As everyone knows, or should know, Robert Redford was Dortmunder in the film version of the first in the series, ...more
Jan 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who's family crest reads "Quid lucrum istic mihi est"
Dortmunder and company are enlisted by the podunk Eastern European nation of Tsergovia to steal a serious bone of contention, the bone in question being the 800 year old femur of St. Ferghana, which will be of material assistance in gaining Tsergovia admittance to the UN. Along the way, Dortmunder is taken for a ride, and believes he has been taken for a rube, which makes him very vindictive indeed.
Nan Silvernail
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dortmunder's pal, Tiny is approached by his cousin from the old country who has a small problem. That's how it all starts. It will grow to involve 2 small countries, the FBI, an archbishop, and a priceless relic of a saint.
Gather the crew. Here we go again!
A fun read and I really liked how the ending came together. However, a huge pet peeve of mine is having accents written out, and that unfortunately happened with several characters throughout the book.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first Dortmunder novel, I found this to be the light-hearted version of Parker from the one Parker novel I've read. I enjoyed the creative turns the plot took and the story gets an A for originality, that's for damn sure. At times though I found myself putting down the book to do something else every 20 pages. What it lacked, I think, was a certain type tension. The story worked best when their various heists were in action, happening in 3 different states at once. The sheer number of charact ...more
Joel Ward
For some reason, this is the only Dortmunder novel not published as an ebook, so it was the last one I was able to read.

I'd place it somewhere in the lower middle of the pack. Not the worst, but far from the best. As always, Westlake's humor comes through beautifully, but the story just gets a little too convoluted and ties up just a little too neatly at the end. It felt really long and challenging to get through, which is unusual for Westlake, who usually pens quick and breezy reads.

But it's
Cathi Davis
Okay Dortmunder (or Diddums as he goes by in this book) is growing on me. Yeah perhaps a formula...simple heist becomes complex multi-theater heist with a bit of revenge. And the bad-luck that dogs Dortmunder becomes comical. But oh boy could Westlake write.
"It washed through like sterile water through a chrome pipe, leaving nothing and taking nothing away with it"
This would be a description of televisions effect on Dortmunder.

And then there is this description of Dortmunder/Diddums "a mystery
Happiness is discovering that you have a Dortmunder novel right there on the shelf that you've never read. Especially since Westlake's death on Dec. 31, I treasure every word of the few of this series that I haven't read yet. Another, I believe, is due out posthumously, and I just read What's So Funny, whose 2007 publication we somehow missed. ...more
DeAnna Knippling
Once upon a time, a famous crime writer, Donald Westlake, decided to write a heist caper novel that was so complex that the plot was very nearly irreducible. It wasn't the first book in the series, which was probably a good idea. "What's this book about, Mr. Westlake?" "Don't ask." "But how will we sell the book, if we can't...?" "Never mind."

But this is book #8 in the series, so the editors probably just said, "Yes, yes, it's a Dortmunder novel, he'll perform some crime, things will go badly, h
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book on a list of mysteries with humor. It is one of a series with John Dortmunder as the main character. It is a crime caper story with many twists, turns, and complications. The characters have been introduced in previous novels in the series and it might have been good to start at the beginning. I did not really enjoy the book all that much. Lots of detail about the caper and lots of humor with some of the characters linguistic difficulties with English. Neither the mystery or th ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't Ask is the 8th book in the John Dortmunder series. Dortmunder is a career thief, with a cadre of guys, each of whom has a specialty for pulling off the 'perfect' heist. However, 'perfect' never works out, and the machinations are hysterically funny. Don't Ask involves stealing a femur--yes, a bone. The bone of a sainted medieval girl. Naturally, anything that could go wrong does. And that's what I love about this series. ...more
Fredrick Danysh
The unlucky, bumbling Dortmunder and is cronies are hired by a small newly established country to steal a holy relic from the small country it broke away from. At stake is a seat at the United Nations.
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I am not a big fan of the Dortmunder series, vs. Parker, who has become one of my favorite fictional characters. I really got into this novel, though. In particular, Chapter 12 was one of the finer heist-gone-bad scenes I've read.
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't ask - Donald Westlake-a/un-4/5-rypically funny dortmunder - UN -small county scam ...more
Josh Hamacher
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
The usual Dortmunder humor, with a deeply layered plot.
David Hambling
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Genuine old-fashioned caper with comedy crooks on all sides. A riot.
Rudy Seifert
There is no such thing as too much Dortmunder.
Carol Jean
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ingenious, with some wonderfully unexpected twists and turns. "Diddums, it was Diddums." LOL ...more
Dec 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fun caper. I'm not sure why it wasn't on Kindle except there is some old fashioned casual racism and homophobia. ...more
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Onto the next in the series...
Book Concierge
Book # 8 in the John Dortmunder series has the gang hired by a small country to “retrieve” a religious relic – the femur of St Ferghana. Seems that there is only one spot available at the United Nations and two neighboring and always warring countries – Tsergovia and Votskojek – are both determined to get that seat. The head of the selection committee is an archbishop who will likely side with the country who possesses the authenticated relic. The poor countries have equally unimpressive “embass ...more
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Dortmunder is back again. He is asked to assist Tsergovia, a small "Slavic" country which is trying to enter the UN. Votskojek, the neighboring country, also wants to be recognized as the country and only one can be selected. The problem arises when each country claims authenticity of a sacred relic, the 600-year old femur bone of St. Ferghana, a 16-year old girl who was murdered and eaten by her own family but later was made a saint.

The Votskojek embassy is located in the East River near Q
Ross Mckeen
I highly recommend Donald Westlake's Dortmunder series. With each caper, John Dortmunder and his small band of hapless career criminals manage to both fail and win, and they do it just like it's a job. The books are amusing and a bit absurd. Having said that, I don't recommend starting with "Don't Ask" (#9 in the series). The story involves two fictitious countries competing for a seat in the U.N. by proving which is the true owner of a saintly relic, is a little heavy handed in its absurdity. O ...more
Jason Reeser
Feb 15, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More fun from the Sad Sack Dortmunder and his inept gang of nitwits. This time, the gangs out to help Tiny, the small mountain in the gang, who has relatives from a small country that wants to get into the United Nations but needs the femur of a Sainted girl from the old country. But then, John gets caught by the agents of another country, the bone gets impounded by the Feds, and...well, don't ask. But definitely read. Great fun. ...more
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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)
  • Bank Shot (Dortmunder, #2)
  • Jimmy The Kid (Dortmunder, #3)
  • Nobody's Perfect (Dortmunder, #4)
  • Why Me? (Dortmunder, #5)
  • Good Behavior (Dortmunder, #6)
  • Drowned Hopes (Dortmunder, #7)
  • What's The Worst That Could Happen? (Dortmunder, #9)
  • Bad News (Dortmunder, #10)
  • The Road To Ruin (Dortmunder, #11)

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