THE BURGLAR IN THE LIBRARY by Lawrence Block

THE BURGLAR IN THE LIBRARY

KIRKUS REVIEW

All princely burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr wanted was to steal off to the Berkshires for a romantic weekend with Lettice Runcible at the oh-so-English Cuttleford House, then to go home with a rumored Cuttleford book--a copy of The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler inscribed to Dashiell Hammett--that wasn't his. But things don't exactly work out that way. First off, Lettice announces that she can't go because she's getting married that weekend, and when Bernie handsomely adapts by bringing his platonic chum Carolyn Kaiser along instead, who should complete the fanciful assortment of guests at Cuttleford House but Lettice and her bridegroom? As for the library that Bernie hopes to plunder, it's got more foot traffic than the Library of Congress, even before the discovery of a guest's cooling corpse makes it the center of attention. The sedate country-house setting, the general jollity (the grue is leavened by a precocious ten-year- old and the casual slaughters of several victims who barely have names, much less faces), and, above all, the body-in-the-library scream Agatha Christie, but the killer's model seems to be Christie's darkest novel: And Then There Were None. The cut phone lines, the sabotaged snowblower, the ruined bridge to the outside world--all these retro trappings climax in a denouement (in the library, naturally) that must be one of the most deliriously overextended in the history of the genre. Bernie, evidently recovered from his most recent folly (The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart, 1995), has a fine time mocking the conventions of Christie's bygone age. Fans who don't insist on plotting as tight as Christie's will enjoy themselves just as much as if it were her.
Pub Date: July 15th, 1997
ISBN: 0-525-94301-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15th, 1997




MORE BY LAWRENCE BLOCK

MysteryHIT ME by Lawrence Block
by Lawrence Block
FictionA DROP OF THE HARD STUFF by Lawrence Block
by Lawrence Block
NonfictionSTEP BY STEP by Lawrence Block
by Lawrence Block

SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

MysteryTHE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO VENICE by Chris Ewan
by Chris Ewan