A tutorial in larceny leads to a study in homicide.
The guy seems harmless enough. Granted, what he wants borders on the bizarre, but then Charlie Howard (The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam, 2007), part-time mystery writer, part-time burglar, full-time scalawag, is plenty bizarre in his own right. They’re both part of the scene at Paris Lights, the best known bookstore in France, when the young man with the dazzling smile asks Charlie to make him his protégé. He wants Charlie to teach him the fine art of breaking and entering. The target, it turns out, is his very own apartment. Charlie signs on and, when one thing leads to another, finds himself enmeshed in a scheme to filch Picasso’s The Guitar Player, currently on display in a carefully guarded Parisian gallery. Or perhaps not quite as carefully as its guardians think. At any rate, Charlie, along with several among the band of entrepreneurial thieves, sees it as vulnerable, and so the game’s afoot. Before it’s finally over, The Guitar Player has changed locations, the protégé has changed sides, and Charlie has changed hair color to elude a gendarmerie eager to have him account for a certain inconvenient dead body.
A feast for the amoral, but how many readers will take to a protagonist who unhesitatingly frames a friend in order to save his own hide?