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About Lawrence Block
Lawrence Block was born in Buffalo, New York in 1938. He attended Antioch College in Ohio then went to work in the mailroom of a New York publisher. His first story was published in 1957 and he has gone on to write more than thirty novels and countless stories and articles, not just under his own name but also as Paul Kavanagh. Indeed Lawrence Block has had several pseudonyms having learned his writer's art crafting erotic literature as Andrew Shaw, Sheldon Lord and Jill Emerson!
In 1994 Lawrence Block won the Mystery Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America and has also won Edgar, Shamus, and Maltese Falcon awards for his work. In 2004 Lawrence Block was awarded the Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger Award for a lifetime's achievement in crime writing.
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Titles By Lawrence Block
Bookseller and New-Yorker-to-the-bone, Bernie Rhodenbarr rarely ventures out of Manhattan, but he's excited about the romantic getaway he has planned for himself and current lady love Lettice at the Cuttleford House, a remote upstate b&b. Unfortunately, Lettice has a prior engagement—she's getting married . . . and not to Bernie—so he decides to take best buddy Carolyn instead. A restful respite from the big city's bustle would be too good to waste. Besides, there's a very valuable first edition shelved in the Cuttleford's library that Bernie's just itching to get his hands on. Did we neglect to mention that Bernie's a burglar?
But first he's got to get around a very dead body on the library floor. The plot's thickened by an isolating snowstorm, downed phone lines, the surprise arrival of Lettice and her reprehensible new hubby, and a steadily increasing corpse count. And it's Bernie who'll have to figure out whodunit . . . or die.
You’ve got a dream job, running your own cozy secondhand bookstore, complete with Raffles, your caudally challenged cat. It’s in Greenwich Village, and your best friend’s dog grooming salon is two doors away, and the two of you lunch together and meet for drinks after work.
And you’ve got another way to make a buck. Every once in a while you put your conscience on the shelf and let yourself into someone else’s residence, and you leave with more than you came with. You’re a burglar, and you know it’s wrong, but you love it.
And you’re good at it. You’ve got two ways to make a living, one larcenous, the other literary and legitimate, and you’re good at both of them.
Until the 21st Century pulls the rug out from under you. All of a sudden the streets of your city are so overpopulated with security cameras and closed-circuit TV that you have to lock yourself in the bathroom to have an undocumented moment. And locks, which used to provide the recreational pleasure of a moderately challenging crossword puzzle, have become genuinely pickproof.
Meanwhile, internet booksellers have muscled your legit enterprise into obsolescence. The new breed of customers browse your bookshop, find what they’re looking for, then whip out their phones and order their books online.
Wonderful. You had two ways to make a living, and neither of them works anymore.
But suppose you keep on supposing, okay?
Suppose you wake up one morning in a world just like the one in which you fell asleep—but with a couple of differences.
The first one you notice doesn’t amount to much. The Metrocard in your wallet has somehow changed color and morphed into what seems to be called a SubwayCard. That’s puzzling, but you swipe it at the turnstile same as always, and it gets you on the subway, so what difference does it make?
But that’s not the only thing that’s changed. The Internet’s up and running, as robust as ever, but nobody seems to be using it to sell books. Doors are secured not with pickproof electronic gizmos but with good old reliable Rabson locks, the kind you can open with your eyes closed. And what happened to all those security cameras? Where’d they go?
All of a sudden you’ve got your life back, and your bookshop’s packed with eager customers, and how are you gonna find time to steal something?
Well, just suppose one of the world’s worst human beings has recently acquired one of the world’s most glamorous gems. When the legendary Kloppmann Diamond is up for grabs, what can you possibly do but grab it?
And what could possibly go wrong?
In a novel widely celebrated by critics and readers, Lawrence Block circle back to how it all began, reestablishing the Matthew Scudder series as one of the pinnacles of American detective fiction.
"Right up there with Mr. Block's best . . . A Drop of Hard Stuff keeps us guessing." -- Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
Bernie Rhodenbarr is a personable chap, a good neighbor, a passable poker player. His chosen profession, however, might not sit well with some. Bernie is a burglar, a good one, effortlessly lifting valuables from the not-so-well-protected abodes of well-to-do New Yorkers like a modern-day Robin Hood. (The poor, as Bernie would be the first to tell you, alas, have nothing worth stealing.)
He's not perfect, however; he occasionally makes mistakes. Like accepting a paid assignment from a total stranger to retrieve a particular item from a rich man's apartment. Like still being there when the cops arrive. Like having a freshly slain corpse lying in the next room, and no proof that Bernie isn't the killer.
Now he's really got his hands full, having to locate the true perpetrator while somehow eluding the police -- a dirty job indeed, but if Bernie doesn't do it, who will?
The pretty young prostitute is dead. Her alleged murderer—a minister's son—hanged himself in his jail cell. The case is closed. But the dead girl's fatherhas come to Matthew Scudder for answers, sending the unlicensed private investigator in search of terrible truths about a life that was lived and lost in a sordid world of perversion and pleasures.
"What a treat! Catnip to Bernie disciples!" —Booklist
Four decades ago, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Lawrence Block introduced the world to one of his most beloved and enduring creations: Bernie Rhodenbarr, the clever, nimble-fingered star of novels such as Burglars Can't Be Choosers, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, and The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons. Called “the Heifetz of the picklock” by the New York Times, Bernie has stolen not only antiques, stamp collections, and priceless works of art but also millions of readers' hearts.
Now, for all those craving more adventures of their favorite bookseller-by-day and burglar-by-night, The Burglar in Short Order for the first time ever collects all of Bernie's short-form appearances in one complete volume. From the story in which a prototype of Bernie first appeared (“A Bad Night For Burglars”) to his appearances in Playboy and (maybe? It's kinda complicated) Cosmopolitan…from an essay discussing Bernie's misadventures in Hollywood (how in the world did Whoopi Goldberg ever get cast?) to a piece commissioned by a European publisher for a tourist guide to New York…you'll find every published story, article, and standalone excerpt Bernie has ever appeared in—plus two new, unpublished pieces: an introduction discussing the character's colorful origins and an afterword in which the author, contemplating retirement, comes face to face with his own creation. In all of mystery fiction, there has never been a character like Bernie—and in this, his dozenth book, he demonstrates all the charm and wit and kleptophilic ingenuity that has made two generations of readers welcome their favorite burglar into their homes.
From Publishers Weekly:
"MWA Grandmaster Block collects 15 tightly crafted and amusing short stories and articles concerning burglar and bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr, hero of The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling and other novels... A foreword, 'A Burglar's Origins,' and an afterword, 'A Burglar's Future,' are original to this volume. The author's legion of fans won't want to miss this one."
"What a treat, therefore, to come upon this charming addendum, which collects all of Block's Bernie short stories as well as several short essays, one describing Bernie's origins (broke, Block contemplated becoming a thief himself before deciding to write about one instead)... All this backstory will be catnip to Bernie disciples, and the stories are a treat, too, especially 'The Burglar Who Dropped in on Elvis,' in which Bernie is charged with breaking into Graceland's impregnable second floor."
Bernie Rhodenbarr has gone legit -- almost -- as the new owner of a used bookstore in New York's Greenwich Village. Of course, dusty old tomes don't always turn a profit, so to make ends meet, Bernie's forced, on occasion, to indulge in his previous occupation: burglary. Besides which, he likes it.
Now a collector is offering Bernie an opportunity to combine his twin passions by stealing a very rare and very bad book-length poem from a rich man's library.
The heist goes off without a hitch. The delivery of the ill-gotten volume, however, is a different story. Drugged by the client's female go-between, Bernie wakes up in her apartment to find the book gone, the lady dead, a smoking gun in his hand, and the cops at the door. And suddenly he's got to extricate himself from a rather sticky real-life murder mystery and find a killer -- before he's booked for Murder One.
In the dark days, in a sad and lonely place, ex-cop Matt Scudder is drinking his life away -- and doing "favors" for pay for his ginmill cronies. But when three such assignments flow together in dangerous and disturbing ways, he'll need to change his priorities from boozing to surviving.
Bernie Rhodenbarr is actually trying to earn an honest living. It's been an entire year since he's entered anyone's abode illegally to help himself to their valuables. But now an unscrupulous landlord's threat to increase Bernie's rent by 1,000% is driving the bookseller and reformed burglar back to a life of crime -- though, in all fairness, it's a very short trip. And when the cops wrongly accuse him of stealing a priceless collection of baseball cards, Bernie's stuck with a worthless alibi since he was busy burgling a different apartment at the time . . . one that happened to contain a dead body locked inside a bathroom.
So Bernie has a dilemma. He can trade a burglary charge for a murder rap. Or he can shuffle all the cards himself and try to find the joker in the deck -- someone, perhaps, who believes that homicide is the real Great American Pastime.
Gulliver Fairborn's novel, Nobody's Baby, changed Bernie Rhodenbarr's life. And now pretty Alice Cottrell, Fairborn's one-time paramour, wants the bookselling, book-loving burglar to break into a room in New York's teeth-achingly charming Paddington Hotel and purloin some of the writer's very personal letters before an unscrupulous agent can sell them. Here's an opportunity to use his unique talents in the service of the revered, famously reclusive author. But when Bernie gets there, the agent is dead . . . and Bernie's wanted for murder. (He really hates when that happens!)
Perhaps it's karmic payback; Bernie did help himself to a ruby necklace on his way out. (But it was lying there. And he is a burglar.) Now he's in even hotter water. And he'll need to use every trick in the book—maybe going so far as to entice the hermitic Fairborn himself out of seclusion—to bring this increasingly twisted plot to a satisfying denouement.