Perhaps the safest adjective to choose is unclassifiable or does it take a thief to catch the point of Mr. Smith's. . . what? a fantasy fuelled with bravura? a crime story of sorts devised to test the resilience and creativity of the culprit? in any case a sometimes startling construct of outrageous thefts, chess and a little coupling in which areas one Webster Daniels enjoys exercising his talents. After a first heist on the North Shore (Chicago), he uses blackmail to get himself invited to dinner at his victim's, annexes the lovely Laura, diddles and just about tweaks the nose of Dave Reilly, an insurance investigator for Maternal Mutual. Reilly is sure that Daniels is the ""chess burglar"" Who leaves this signature at the scene of each robbery, one entailing a museum collection worth eight million. And then Reilly has other troubles besides Daniels -- a dissolved marriage, a perforated ulcer, etc., etc. which all complicate his irresolute resolution of the case. . . . The book is a matter of mood and Mr. Smith's inclines toward aplomb. . . the chances are you won't read it with a clear head but you shouldn't approach it with a literal mind.