You may have heard of habitual criminals but this is the first habitual crime to come along in some time. It's Westlake at his slickest and most hilarious as five expert thieves make five separate attempts to steal a sacred emerald and each time the operation is successful but the patient disappears. The capers include raids on the New York Coliseum, the Utopia Park prison, an exclusive insane asylum and a vault in a Fifth Avenue bank. And the equipment used ranges from a helicopter to a Tom Thumb locomotive to a hypnotist. It makes Topkapi look like amateur night.