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The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian (Bernie Rhodenbarr) Mass Market Paperback – July 26, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: Bernie Rhodenbarr (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060731435
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060731434
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #885,648 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

If the only side of Lawrence Block you know is the dark and gloomy Matt Scudder books, such as the noir classic When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, then you might be surprised to hear that he's also one of the most delightfully droll writers in the mystery business.

"I hurried uptown and changed into chinos and a short-sleeved shirt that would have been an Alligator except that the embroidered device on the breast was not that reptile but a bird in flight. I guess it was supposed to be a swallow, either winging its way back to Capistrano or not quite making a summer, because the brand name was Swallowtail. It had never quite caught on and I can understand why." That's Bernie Rhodenbarr, used book dealer and gentleman burglar, making a literary fashion statement in this latest return to print of one of Block's best books about him.

As with the other entries in this admirable series--The Burglar in the Closet, The Burglar in the Library, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams, Burglars Can't Be Choosers--Block manages to be very amusing, moderately suspenseful, and impressively erudite all at the same time. The plot is a complicated tangle of double-cross and deceit surrounding the theft of a valuable painting and two murders. Mondrian isn't the only artist being framed here: Bernie has to use all of his skills--as burglar, lover, and art expert--to prove his (relative) innocence. --Dick Adler --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.


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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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A great easy read.
karen
When a thief has a lesbian friend who is always looking to steal his women, it always makes for an interesting story.
photojk
A vicious and violent one probably.
Greggorio!

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 10, 2003
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 Painted Like Mondrian is the fifth 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 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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Paul Skinner on July 14, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Don't get me wrong. I love the burglar series. But this one was a bit too complicated to enjoy. When I read a Rhodenbarr book, I don't want to have to think too hard, but this one has too many twists and too many paintings to keep track of. The story starts out nice enough, with a kidnapped cat and a ransom call (in a Nazi voice) requesting a Mondrian painting. Unfortunately, the catnapping story loses steam and after awhile, I think Lawrence Block almost forgot it, then suddenly tried to wrap a bow around it. Bernie reveals the twisted details in the end, but he doesn't sufficiently explain how he solves the mystery. He rounds up the suspects into one room for the showdown, and the suspect list includes characters heretofore unseen. I wish all the suspects could have been introduced to the reader before hand, so we had a fighting chance to figure out the mystery ourselves.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Antiquarian book dealer Berni Rhodenbarr feels pretty good about his current job, appraising New York millionaire Gordon Onderdon's personal collection. While checking the library, Bernie, being a thief, cannot help casing the rest of the house in case he decides to abscond with something.
Bernie's close friend Carolyn Kaiser informs Bernie that someone has abducted her cat. For ransom, they want the Piet Mondrian painting hanging in a museum where it is virtually impossible to steal anything. Bernie, knowing that Gordon has a fake on his wall, returns to the wealthy man's home to steal the painting. Instead, he finds a corpse and no painting. Of course, the police turn to Bernie as the prime suspect. Now he has to rescue the feline and prove his own innocence.
This is a reprint of a classy Bernie Rhodenbarr novel, which may be the best of this highly regarded series. Bernie and friends remain interesting and fun, while New York City comes to life in a way rarely seen in a novel. The crisp story line keeps reader attention throughout the book. Bottom line is the entire eight-novel collection is worth reading because no one does Manhattan any better than Lawrence Block does with these incredible tales.
Harriet Klausner
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T on October 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While Bernie seems to be in a similar predicament time after time, it never gets dull. And while all of the books I've read so far in the Bernie series are funny, this one seemed to be exceptionally so.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ricky N. on October 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian" is the fifth of the Bernie Rhodenbarr Mysteries by Lawrence Block, who also writes the Matt Scudder novels. Gordon Onderdonk hires Bernie to appraise his book collection. Onderdonk resides in The Charlemagne, a very upscale co-op. While there Bernie notices a painting on Onderdonk's wall by the Dutch abstract artist Piet Mondrian. Archie, Carolyn's cat, is catnapped, and the ransom is a Mondrian hanging on exhibit in the Hewlitt Museum. Bernie decides that the painting on Onderdonk's wall will do and plans to take it. When he gets there, the painting is missing and later Bernie is framed for Onderdonk's murder. He is later framed for the murder of a small time artist. He must prove his innocence and does it in Nero Wolfe style by gathering all the suspects together to give the solutions to all the crimes. This was my 7th Bernie Rhodenbarr novel, and my least favorite to date. The plot was complex and some of the aspects were hard to believe. Don't start the series with this one. This one is for true fans of Bernie Rhodenbarr.
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