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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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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
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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5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, and quick but thoughtful read. Feb. 16 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
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. Abel is simply given to excess. His lifestyle, including his eating habits, he supports through non-legal efforts. Bernie, the narrator, one of Abel's partners in crime, has "pretty much" gone straight, probably because he knows--sooner or later-- crime really doesn't pay. But when you have a hobby...well, you've got to apply yourself to it, at least occasionally. The love interest is early on fairly predictable, but you don't want to bet the farm until the last few pages. The 3 main characters are fully formed. Their needs and fears, their hopes and dreams--everything that makes us human--are explored, Spinoza fashion, through relationships, deeds, and the solving of a murder. Sometimes the "bad" guy gets away, sometimes not. Sometimes the "good" guy gets a raw deal, sometimes not. There is a little bit of everything in this, women, children, animals, relationships, theft, big money, murder, philosophy, psychology... all overlapping in a complex but not complicated fashion. It's the way life does us.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best from an author who is usually great! Aug. 23 1998
If you read the publication materials carefully you will notice that the book was copywritten in 1980, but not published till 1997. There are anachronisms in the text that make this clear. Though it reads as if the author and the reader share the same time zone (eastern, very eastern) silver is $20 an ounce, telephone calls cost a dime, and jogging is still a new fad. The plot could also use some revision, because the denoument, which I won't spoil more than it already is, doesn't really convince this reader, who is a very big Lawrence Block fan. What continues to please are the voice, the characters, the relationship between Bernie and his buddy, and the general sense of decency and good humor, so refreshing in a professional criminal. Block's last Matthew Scudder felt a little recycled , too. And his latest is a revival of a character he hasn't written about in almost twenty years. Why all this rehashing? Is he tired? Did he fall off the wagon? Does he have a new and more interesting hobby?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bookseller/Burglar/Sleuth at It Again! May 21 1998
Format:Audio Cassette
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 to turn sleuth once again to prove he is not guilty of anything worse than entering someone else's apartment with his trusty burglar tools and taking valuables easy to carry away and fence them for a quick turn over. This story involves a very rare coin, a 1913 Liberty V nickel. Our favorite reoccurring characters, Carolyn Kaiser who runs a dog grooming parlor, and Ray Kirschmann the best cop money can buy also make play their roles as they have in previous "Burglar Who book..." Lawrence Block does an excellent job telling of burglaries, murder and mayhem. As with other books in this series he does it with a great sense of humor. That's what makes these stories of a burglar who also owns an antiquarian bookshop in New York Greenwich Village fun to read. They are light reading, just right for a cold winter's night in front of a fireplace or a bright summer afternoon at poolside. I'm a true Bernie Rhodenbarr fan and look forward to reading the next on my to read list, "The Burglar who Pained Like Mondrian." When I do a review will surly be posted here.
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Lawrence Block: The Burglar who Studied Spinoza
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. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Hana
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely worth more than a nickel
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. Read more
Published on March 13 2003 by Paul Skinner
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
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... Read more
Published on Nov. 30 2001 by Frank
4.0 out of 5 stars Bernie Rhodenbarr is always fun
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. Read more
Published on June 13 2000 by Ricky N.
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. 23 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
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 3 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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