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The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza (Bernie Rhodenbarr) Mass Market Paperback – July 25, 2006

33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This 1980 title is the fourth in Block's popular "Burglar" series to be republished by Dutton. The plot follows title character Bernie Rhodenbarr?bookseller by day, thief by night?as he stumbles into a murder and a setup.
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.

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Product Details

  • Series: Bernie Rhodenbarr (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (July 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060872764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060872762
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 8, 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 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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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul Skinner on 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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 19, 1997
Format: Hardcover
Used book store owner Bernie Rhodenbarr is not only tired of losing money at his Greenwich Village establishment, he is inanely bored. Bernie knows that it is time to spice up his life with some excitement by employing his better skill, stealing, this time rare coins. Bernie's marks are the opulent Hank and Wanda Colcannon, who he learns from his friend Carolyn are leaving town.
When Bernie arrives at the Colcannon place, he quickly realizes that a peer has already been there. Still, Bernie finds a few interesting items, including a 1913 V-nickel, which he takes to his fence Abel Crowe to appraise. Abel values the rare coin at $500K and willingly accepts it because Bernie is a pal who gives him philosophy books. However, everything falls apart by the next day when the cops come to accuse Bernie of murdering Wanda and Abel, and stealing the rare coin, which has been re-heisted. Bernie knows he has been set up and only he, with the help of Spinoza, can clear his name of the murder charges.
THE BURGLAR WHO STUDIED SPINOZA is a reprint of the fourth novel in the Rhodenbarr series which is now up to eight. Even after a dozen years (think Reagan), the story line remains remarkably refreshing as it highlights Bernie's best (and worst) traits and showcases the City at its most intriguing and frustrating self. Lawrence Block may have been at the top of his game with this wisecracking, absolutely fun tale about a professional thief turned sleuth who seems to spend a lot of time clearing his name from a couple of murder raps.
Harriet Klausner
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 16, 1999
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 book...men, 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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