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Burglar Who Studied Spinoza [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Block
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback, Nov. 23 1998 --  
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Book Description

Nov. 23 1998 Bernie Rhodenbarr Mysteries

Bookselling burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr doesn't generally get philosophical about his criminal career. He's good at it, it's addictively exciting—and it pays a whole lot better than pushing old tomes. He steals therefore he is, period.

He might well ponder, however, the deeper meaning of events at the luxurious Chelsea brownstone of Herb and Wanda Colcannon, which is apparently burgled three times on the night Bernie breaks in: once before his visit and once after. Fortunately he still manages to lift some fair jewelry and an extremely valuable coin. Unfortunately burglar or burglars number three leave Herb unconscious and Wanda dead . . . and the cops think Rhodenbarr dunnit.

There's no time to get all existential about it—especially after the coin vanishes and the fence fencing it meets with a most severe end. But Bernie is going to have to do some deep thinking to find a way out of this homicidal conundrum.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Library Journal

In this classic Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery, long out of print, sneaky thief Bernie turns up a 1913 V-nickel that gets his Spinoza-reading fence, Abel, murdered.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Lawrence Block is one of the most widely recognized names in the mystery genre. He has been named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and is a four-time winner of the prestigious Edgar and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. He received the Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association—only the third American to be given this award. He is a prolific author, having written more than fifty books and numerous short stories, and is a devoted New Yorker and an enthusiastic global traveler.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Around five-thirty I put down the book I'd been reading and started shooing customers out of the store. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence Block: The Burglar who Studied Spinoza May 19 2013
By Hana
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is not pleasant reading. By this statement I don't mean that the writer was not an excellent observer of the society in which he lived. Quite the contrary. The book was written in 1980, and the author picked up the atmosphere painstakingly.
The women are coarse and promiscuous, there is not only one token gay person, but two, and jumping from bed to bed is the style of the day. No wonder that the little thief Bernie, who wouldn't kill anyone, comes out as the most sympathetic and genuine person.
I don't pretend to know whether nowadays the situation is much different. But the former arrogance is no longer there.
However, Block was, of course, right. That time, 30 years ago, I happened to be teaching a world literature in a college. My students, the girls, were 24+ years old and I was unable to convince them that the text we were reading was a love story. They were just waiting when "he" will betray "her". Men were considered traitors, a priori, and there was no expectation and no feelings in those girls. They were brainwashed before they had lived. Because they didn't expect anything, therefore, to most of them, nothing happened.
The book is highly educated, but for me it was not enough to compensate for the unpleasant feeling.
So, it stands as a testimony about a different age, not so long ago, for those who may not believe us.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Bernie Finds Himself Between Burglaries May 8 2003
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lawrence Block is one of our most talented mystery authors. In the Bernie Rhodenbarr series he explores how an ordinary, but intelligent, "honest" person might go about pursuing a life of crime as a fastidious and talented burglar who isn't proud of what he does, doesn't like to hang out with criminals, and really gets a big thrill out of breaking and entering . . . and removing valuables. As you can see, there's a sitcom set-up to provide lots of humor. But the humor works well in part because Mr. Block is able to put the reader in the Bernie's shoes while he breaks, enters and steals . . . and evades the long arm of the law. To balance the "honest" burglar is an array of "dishonest" and equally easy-money loving cops. As a result, you're in a funny moral never-never land while your stomach tightens and your arm muscles twitch as tension builds. To make matters even more topsy-turvy, Bernie at some point in every story turns into an investigator who must figure out "who-dun-it" for some crime that he personally didn't do. It's almost like one of those "mystery at home" games where the victim comes back as the police investigator, playing two roles. Very nice!
So much for explaining the concept of the series. The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza is the fourth book in the series. I strongly suggest that you begin the series by reading Burglars Can't Be Choosers and follow it up with The Burglar in the Closet and The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling. Each story in the series adds information and characters in a way that will reduce your pleasure of the others if read out of order. Although, I originally read them out of order and liked them well enough. I'm rereading them now in order, and like it much better this way. The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian comes next in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth more than a nickel March 13 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
With two deaths associated with a rare coin, Bernie the Burglar is trying to figure out who and why, partly to avenge his friend and fellow Spinoza afficionado, Abel Crowe. Unlike most of the books in this series, the police quickly lose interest in Bernie after the prime victim fails to identify him. Nevertheless, Bernie goes through an imaginitive investigation of his own, calling several museum curators to research the 1913 V nickel, and getting medical attention for his "Morton's feet". The climatic scene is particularly good, as Bernie plays the part of minister, presiding over a funeral, while assembling the suspects for the showdown where he lays out the evidence.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good read Nov. 30 2001
By Frank
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book is a good quick read, well-written and a page-turner. The interplay of the characters is entertaining and inviting, even the final "Charlie Chan movie" type scene where the characters are brought together and the murderer revealed -- the only thing missing in the book is the lights being turned off and the quick scuffle as the perpetrator tries to escape. The author uses occasional deft and subtle humor and brings in interesting tidbits from Spinoza.
The description of the first murder crime scene (paperback page 78) led me to a correct guess of the murderer's identity.
And strangely for a book where much of the plot turns around the type of glove Bernie wore for the burglary (rubber, with the palm removed), the cover shows Bernie taking the nickel from the safe while wearing a complete leather glove.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bernie Rhodenbarr is always fun June 14 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
When Bernie and Carolyn enter the Colcannon home to ply their trade, they find that they are the second burglars to be in the in the house that night. Bernie takes a valuable 1913-V nickel from the safe. The Colcannons come home early, and when Mrs. Colcannon is murdered, guess who is blamed. . .? Of course, Bernie. When a friend of Bernie's (also the fence with the 1913-V nickel) is also murdered, Bernie must become sleuth to clear his name, and find out who killed these 2 people. A strong addition to a very funny and entertaining series.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhodenbarr, as always, is a thoroughly engaging character.
I have enjoyed all the Rhodenbarr books. Rhodenbarr himself and Corolyn Kaiser are charming, and the plot of this book is as imaginative as the plots of all of the others in this... Read more
Published on Oct. 24 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, and quick but thoughtful read.
I read this book because I adore Spinoza, and figured any crook who has studied Spinoza can't be all bad, as of course Bernie is not. And Abel, his fence, is not. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 1999
4.0 out of 5 stars Does this book really deserve the hype ?
A fascinating psycological insight into the life of a New York burglar. Block utilises the writers craft of suspence to give you one big adventure. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 1999
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best from an author who is usually great!
If you read the publication materials carefully you will notice that the book was copywritten in 1980, but not published till 1997. Read more
Published on Aug. 23 1998 by Howard Weinberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Bookseller/Burglar/Sleuth at It Again!
Bernie Rhodenbarr is at it again in Lawrence Block's fourth "The Burglar Who..." series. In this fast paced novel "The Burglar who Studied Spinoza," Bernie has... Read more
Published on May 21 1998 by Harold L. Laroff
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Way To Fly
I read this book on a plane flight. I was so engrossed in the book that I didn't care when we landed. Bernie is the best at getting himself out of the trouble he gets into. Read more
Published on March 4 1998 by
5.0 out of 5 stars A fun to read mystery that is a classic in the field
Used book store owner Bernie Rhodenbarr is not only tired of losing money at his Greenwich Village establishment, he is inanely bored. Read more
Published on Nov. 19 1997
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