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The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras Paperback – January 15, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Pot Thief Mysteries Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

May fill Hillerman's shoes. --The Gallup Herald

The dialogue is fresh and witty, reminiscent of sparkling Thirties screwball comedies with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn bouncing off each others' energy and zinging home tart observations. The wry Hubert makes the perfect foil for insouciant Susannah. --Lou Allin, author of Man Corn Murders.

Orenduff is a master of his craft. He pulls you in by a thread and masterfully winds the story around his characters. Prepare for a sleepless night. I couldn t put it down. --Marie Romero Cash, author of Tortilla Chronicles

About the Author

Mike Orenduff grew up in a house so close to the Rio Grande that he could Frisbee a flour tortilla into Mexico from his back yard. He and his wife, the art historian Lai Chew Orenduff, currently split their time between south Georgia and their Greenwich Village pied-a-terre which is on the same block as Bernie Rhodenbarr's fictional Barnaget Books and Carolyn Kaiser's Poodle Factory. And if you're not familiar with those two establishments, you aren't reading enough murder mysteries.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Oak Mysteries; 1 edition (January 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892343304
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892343307
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,462,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras" proves that the measure of a successful detective story often depends upon the person of the protagonist. Orenduff's Hubert Schuze (affectionately, and appropriately, known as Hubie) is a fantastic creation -- by turns modest and bold, sensitive, a wee bit finicky, intensely curious, and loyal. Schuze is the type of character that you regret doesn't exist in real life, as is his wonderful sidekick and best friend, Susannah. Orenduff has obviously spent lots of time in and has great affection for the Northern New Mexico area, because he manages to successfully capture its flavor. As in the case of Robert B. Parker's Boston and Sue Grafton's California coast, you can't really imagine "The Pot Thief" happening anywhere else. (By the way, if you are into Mexican/New Mexican food, do not read this book on an empty stomach - I got sidetracked by all the tantalizing descriptions!) Because of Schuze's personality and outlook, his entanglement in a web of intrigue, theft, and murder is all the more entertaining. Schuze is the type of guy who finds himself in deep water purely (well, mostly) by accident, and his reactions to one unexpected situation after another really drive the spirit of the book. While the plot is very tightly constructed (and impossible to predict), Orenduff's characters and their very real humanity are what really made me love this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Pot Thief is a wildly entertaining novel. Hubert Schuze is a character like no other- he's basically a good guy, but sometimes, he likes to do bad things. Of course, the bad things he actually does are nowhere near as bad as the things he is accused of doing. For the nervous Hubert, this could end up catastrophic.

The plot unfolds as a shady character wants Hubert to steal a pot from a museum. Ordinarily, Hubert doesn't steal from museums; he digs up artifacts and keeps them, which to law enforcement, is still stealing. Stealing a pot from a museum, however, is much more difficult than digging up an ancient relic. Hubert's task grows even more monumental when people connected to him are murdered, and he becomes the primary suspect.

This novel is extremely entertaining, with enough details to make the story believable without burdening the reader with too much information. Orenduff obviously knows about being a pot thief, although I won't ask how, and does a good job of conveying an interesting plot set in the New Mexico setting.

With a perfectly-paced plot, authentic characters and just enough humor, this book is a great read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A main character based on Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr - a southwest setting - I was ready to like it. The characters are compelling and Mr. Orenduff clearly is familiar with Albuquerque and the surrounding environs. But - plotting was weak and there were occasional typos. Too much drinking of too many Margaritas - the character's favorite watering hole must serve the weakest Margaritas in the entire Southwest. The conversation about "Kennewick Man" was uninformed. This book's copywrite is 2009. Testing on "Kennewick Man" remains was done July 2005, the conclusion was that the ancient remains were most closely related to the Ainu, a coastal people today found in Japan's northern Islands. There was lots of stuff I skipped over that the author had opinions about, or he himself, found interesting that did not drive the narrative or advance the plot - generally a novice flaw. Mr.Orenduff apparently was not familiar with the Elmore Leonard rule - "Leave out stuff people don't read!" The ending - get serious! Straight from the English cozy genre - get a bunch of people in a room and reveal the killer. A book with so much unrealized potential. I would like to checkout the next in the "Pot thief who studied" series, with hopes the author has improved his game, but will carefully sample it and read all of there reviews before hitting the purchase button.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book (and, presumably, this series), references Lawrence Block's wonderful "The Burglar Who..." books in everything from the names of the books to frequent references to Bernie in "The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras." There is the loveable not-quite burglar who gets a thrill out of doing things he's not supposed to; his platonic female friend; the cop who's amenable to a monetary consideration. The story could be picked up out of New York City and plopped into New Mexico - I felt no particular sense of place, although I could tell the author was working hard at it. I was distracted from the story by the lack of proofreading; you may or may not be, but if you are, be forewarned. My major complaint is that Bernie Rhodenbarr was a distinctive character who belonged with his sidekicks on his block in New York. It's not even a fine line between referencing him or a tribute to him and a just downright copy which has to be inferior. I can only hope nobody decides to put Dortmunder in the Southwest next.
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Format: Paperback
Folks, this is an outstanding book! I bought it at the PSWA conference mainly because I thought Michael was a charming guy and I liked the cover of the book. I had no idea what it was about. Oh, of course Billie told me it was a good book, but after all, she is the publisher of the Pot Thief.

What a surprise I was in for when I began reading. This is a mystery, but not like any mystery I've ever read before. The hero, Hubert, sells old pots from his shop in New Mexico, he also digs pots up which is no longer legal, and he can make a pot that looks like the old ones.

Hubert gets all tangled up in a most devious plot to steal a pot from a museum, but the book is so much more than that. I laughed out loud in several spots, the dialogue is wonderful. Orenduff knows how to spin an intelligent tale and turn a surprising phrase.

Next, I'd like him to write a cookbook. I've never read about such mouth watering food before.

If you want an entertaining time, do pick up the Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras.

Thanks, Mike for several hours of great fun.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith
Author of No Sanctuary
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