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The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart (Bernie Rhodenbarr Mystery) Hardcover – June 1, 1995

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Product Details

  • Series: Bernie Rhodenbarr Mystery
  • Hardcover: 291 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton (June 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525940162
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525940166
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

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

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Customer Reviews

This is one of the best of Lawrence Block's gentleman burglar series.
Mrs. Lois G. Duffield
I think what I like most in a good, fun mystery novel is that there are inevitably characters in it who are readers of good, fun mystery novels themselves.
Mary Lavers
This book, along with others in the series, is a quick, entertaining read.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on February 25, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is certainly not the best book in the Bernie Rhodenbarr series, but it is still entertaining in the way I expect from Block. Bernie is back with his wisecracking and his lockpicking, this time with a convoluted plot involving Humphrey Bogart movies and an attempted country called Anatruria. But it's all really unimportant, and the main clue, the word "caphob," turns out to be the key to the solution but in a really obscure way.
It's really too complicated for its own good, and Block has definitely done better, but I would read another Burglar book for the reason anyone reads a series novel, for the main character and the regular supporting cast: Carolyn, the lesbian dog groomer; and Ray, the ubiquitous policeman. Oh, yes, and Raffles, hard-working, toilet-using feline about town.
The Bogart references are fun, too, especially for a film fan.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Untouchable on July 29, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Bernie Rhodenbarr, burglar extraordinaire is recruited by the friend of an old acquaintance to break into an apartment to steal some documents. Unfortunately, he is interrupted during the attempt and the documents disappear. When murdered bodies begin showing up along with mysterious visitors, both threatening and friendly, Bernie finds himself drawn into a mystery whose origins come from an unknown European country.
While it had it�s amusing moments, I thought the plot became very convoluted and was bogged down by a bewildering number of characters. I was also a little disappointed with the explanation for the murders and for the interest in the object that Bernie was meant to steal. All in all, it felt a bit anti-climactic.
Humorous references are made to Sue Grafton�s Kinsey Milhone series throughout the book with Block making up names for a new book that had supposedly just been released. �I is for Claudius� was my favourite title.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 15, 1997
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Lawrence Block is one of the finest mystery writers, bar none. In particular the Bernie Rhodenbarr mysteries are among the best in the genre. Block stumbles a bit in this installment, but still produces an entertaining story.
In attempting to pay homage to Bogart and throw some romance into Bernie's life, the plot becomes strained under the weight of extraneous plotlines and characters. Relationships, characters and plotlines seem contrived in places, lacking Block's usually laser-sharp writing and story development. The resolution of the mystery is also a bit unsatsifying and feels forced.
With that said, it's still an entertaining read. Bernie is as charming as ever and the dialogue is as crisp and realistic as you will find in any novel. While not the best book in the series, it's still a fun ride.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 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.
Read more ›
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