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Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart [Mass Market Paperback]

Lawrence Block
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 24 1996 Bernie Rhodenbarr Mysteries
In another installment in the popular mystery series featuring detective Bernie Rhodenbarr, Rhodenbarr meets the woman of his dreams at a Humphrey Bogart film festival, a woman whose past may be as dark as a movie theater. Reprint. K.

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From Publishers Weekly

This time out, the recently revived Bernie Rhodenbarr, Greenwich Village bookseller and dedicated burglar, is swept away by a gorgeous foreigner who comes into his store one day. They share a passion for old Bogart movies and are soon spending successive nights sharing popcorn at a Bogart film festival. There is even more to Ilona than meets the eye, however, as Bernie finds out after he retrieves a portfolio from a locked apartment for another customer. Soon his client is dead, and so is one of the client's partners, and Bernie is up to his eyes in a bizarre mystery involving exiles from a never-never land in Central Europe, retired CIA men and what may (or may not) be a fortune in ancient bearer bonds. The tale goes down smoothly, much helped by the usual ditsy conversations with Bernie's lesbian best friend Carolyn and some neat use of famous Bogart dialogue. The only thing that keeps this from equaling last year's Ted Williams in the Burglar series is the slightly too fanciful and tangled plot. But even middling Rhodenbarr has entertainment value to burn.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

"Justice gets served last, and usually winds up with leftovers." Yes, it's witty, but what really makes this line work is that the man speaking it, bookstore owner and master burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr, finds not just irony but opportunity in its meaning. That's the thing about the Rhodenbarr mysteries: Bernie keeps you on your toes. He has a heart of gold, but he loves to steal, both for the thrill and the profit. Sentimental, yes, but selfish, too, thank God--sort of like Bogart, which leads us to the just-plain-fun plot of Bernie's latest caper. Out of all the bookstores in all the towns in all the world, this girl named Ilona happens to walk into Bernie's: they get to talking, she buys a book on Bogart, and before you can say, "Here's looking at you, kid," they've made a date to see two Bogey flicks at a New York film festival. After that, it gets complicated fast: they keep going to the Bogey festival every night; Bernie steals some documents; his sort-of-partner is killed; an enigmatic fat man appears, lusting after the documents; Ilona disappears, leaving Bernie holding the popcorn; and, inevitably, Ilona takes the midnight plane, dedicating her life to helping another man achieve an idealistic political dream, but not before Bernie has a chance to mutter, "We'll always have Twenty-fifth Street." What does it all mean? Not much, but if you're a film fan, who cares? It's funny, it's silly, it's stupendously clever, it's drop-dead romantic. Play it again, Bernie. Bill Ott --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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At a quarter after ten on the last Wednesday in May, I put a beautiful woman in a taxi and watched her ride out of my life, or at least out of my neighborhood. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
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 Thought He Was Bogart is the seventh 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, The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian and The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams. 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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars He steals from the rich March 17 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Meet Bernie Rhodenbarr, burglar extra-ordinary. This isn't your
ordinary burglar, however. He is a man who steals only the best:
jewelry, coin collections, works of art and-if it's lying around
in large enough bills-money. But don't worry; he won't bother
most of us. He steals only from the rich, for, "the poor, God
love 'em, have nothing worth taking."
But burglary is only a sideline for Bernie; he also owns a
bookstore, and in there he meets the most interesting people.
Thus one morning he sells a book to Hugh Candlemas, who then asks
him to enter an expensive East Side apartment (after hours, of
course), and "borrow" a stock portfolio, which the two of them
would then split.
Normally Bernie doesn't like partners, but he agrees. But then
events take a rather sinister turn. While he is casing the joint,
he is interrupted by the owner and his girlfriend and is forced
to hide in a closet. When they leave, the portfolio is gone, too.
And when he tries to call Hugh to tell him what had happened, a
stranger answers the phone!
Bernie might just chalk it all off as a bad day, but a couple of
weeks later he is approached by detective Ray Kirshmann. It seems
that Mr. Candlemas has turned up dead-and that the police have
found an empty briefcase in the apartment with his prints!
Bernie's troubles are just beginning, though. He soon realizes
that he is merely a pawn in an international game, and the stakes
are much greater than the money he had thought to gain. In fact,
if he's not careful, his life may be part of the game.
But Lawrence Block's The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart is
more than an entertaining mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must reading for Bogart fans May 28 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Bernie may be too generous for his own good in Lawrence Block's seventh Burglar Who..." series. There are many more characters in this fast paced novel, "The Burglar who Thought He Was Bogart." Bernie is over obsessed in attending a Bogart film festival. Night after night he goes to the movies. It is here he first meets Ilona who is a principal player in this novel. Lawrence Block must be a Bogart fan as well. This is evident with the dialog, which is reminiscent of Bogart films such as "Casablanca," New characters are crisp, colorful and convincing. Max Fiddler; a New York can driver appears to pick Bernie up on more than one occasion. (I wonder what the odds are of this happening in NY?) I hope Fiddler returns in a future book. Old characters from pervious novels are mentioned. Carolyn Kaiser, his best friend who runs the Poodle Parlor, a dog grooming place and Ray Kirschmann the best cop money can buy also play important roles as they have in the past. Once again Bernie the burglar turns sleuth to solve the murders. After all what would a " Burglar Who" book be without a murder or two. I am looking forward to the eighth book, "The Burglar in the Library." When I do the review will appear here along with the other Bernie Rhodenbarr books.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
Set against the backdrop of Bernie's nightly attendance at a Bogart film festival, THE BURGLAR WHO THOUGHT HE WAS BOGART is unusually moody and not quite up to par. This time out, Bernie tangles with international intrigue and high romance, just like his on-screen hero, Bogie; and while the mix is funny and sporadically engrossing, neither the comedy nor the mystery reach this exceptional series' normal high standards. Block is a master plotter -- so how could he have his characters puzzle over the meaning of the dying message "CAPHOB" without once connecting it with the character (conspicuously and implausibly) named "Captain Hoberman"? That the connection turns out to be a red herring makes it all the worse -- Block squanders a chance to lead readers merrily astray and frustrates them in the process. Much of the plot also feels like a reprise from earlier episodes: Bernie gets locked in a closet as in THE BURGLAR IN THE CLOSET, he repeatedly manages to enter an impregnable apartment building as in THE BURGLAR WHO PAINTED LIKE MONDRIAN, and so on. And, for opposite reasons, both knowledgable Bogart affionados and people who care nothing about Bogart are likely to feel the author spends a bit too much space on plot synopses of Bogart films. Make no mistake -- there is also plenty to enjoy here. But there is more to enjoy in any of the other books in the series. If you've read all the rest and are hungry for more, you shouldn't miss this one; but by all means start with one of the better ones (such as the two mentioned above).
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars First Burglar Book and probably my last
Knowing the writer's very good reputation and popularity as a mystery writer was probably a disadvantage in reading this book. This book was a dissapointment. Read more
Published on June 15 2004 by Kathryn R. Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars Play it again, Bear-naaard
If you want a light-hearted mystery full of intellectual stimulation, check out the burglar series. This excellent addition puts our hero into an Eastern European conspiracy to... Read more
Published on Sept. 24 2002 by Paul Skinner
2.0 out of 5 stars Never Again
It takes a lot of time (or it seams that way) to get through this book. I do not know what slowed me down more, the disjointed writing or the plot that seamed to just be thrown... Read more
Published on April 11 2002 by John G. Hilliard
4.0 out of 5 stars Second-rate mystery, First-rate Bernie
This is certainly not the best book in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series, but it is still entertaining in the way I expect from Block. Read more
Published on Feb. 25 2002 by Craig Clarke
3.0 out of 5 stars It Doesnï¿t Really Amount To A Hill of Beans
Bernie Rhodenbarr, burglar extraordinaire is recruited by the friend of an old acquaintance to break into an apartment to steal some documents. Read more
Published on July 29 2001 by Untouchable
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Bernie book, but still worth reading
Lawrence Block is one of the finest mystery writers, bar none. In particular the Bernie Rhodenbarr mysteries are among the best in the genre. Read more
Published on July 7 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice Brain Candy
For those days when you want something nice and light, and not too challenging then this book is the ticket. The main character, Bernie, is very likable, witty and yes, charming. Read more
Published on Dec 27 1999 by Jason Debly
3.0 out of 5 stars Not one of his best.
I think Larry tried to fit in a few too many formulae in this one. It seemed a bit strained to me.
Published on May 24 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars RHODENBARR THE GREAT!
LAWRENCE BLOCK'S "THE BURGLAR WHO THOUGHT HE WAS BOGART" HAS GREAT ROMANCE, BIG MYSTERY, GREAT CHARACTERS, A GREAT HOMAGE TO THE THING THAT IS BOGART, AND OF COURSE, THE... Read more
Published on June 14 1998 by Linda W Finocchiaro
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