The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart by Lawrence Block

From hard-boiled private eye to burglar-turned-sleuth, Lawrence Block can enchant all varieties of mystery lovers.

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The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart by Lawrence Block


Features

  • Mass Market Paperback: ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.09 x 6.90 x 4.15
  • Publisher: Onyx Books; (July 1996)
  • ISBN: 0451186346


    Reader Reviews
    Bernie Plays Bogie in Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon!, May 11, 2003 Reviewer: Don Mitchell from a management consultant in Boston Lawrence Block is one of our most talented mystery authors. In the Bernie Rhodenbarr series he explores how an ordinary, but intelligent, "honest" person might go about pursuing a life of crime as a fastidious and talented burglar who isn't proud of what he does, doesn't like to hang out with criminals, and really gets a big thrill out of breaking and entering . . . and removing valuables. As you can see, there's a sitcom set-up to provide lots of humor. But the humor works well in part because Mr. Block is able to put the reader in the Bernie's shoes while he breaks, enters and steals . . . and evades the long arm of the law. To balance the "honest" burglar is an array of "dishonest" and equally easy-money loving cops. As a result, you're in a funny moral never-never land while your stomach tightens and your arm muscles twitch as tension builds. To make matters even more topsy-turvy, Bernie at some point in every story turns into an investigator who must figure out "who-dun-it" for some crime that he personally didn't do. It's almost like one of those "mystery at home" games where the victim comes back as the police investigator, playing two roles. Very nice! So much for explaining the concept of the series. The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart is the seventh book in the series. I strongly suggest that you begin the series by reading Burglars Can't Be Choosers and follow it up with The Burglar in the Closet, The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian and The Burglar Who Traded Ted Williams. Each story in the series adds information and characters in a way that will reduce your pleasure of the others if read out of order. Although, I originally read them out of order and liked them well enough. I'm rereading them now in order, and like it much better this way. The Burglar in the Library comes next in the series. The series, always comical and satirical, takes a new turn in The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart. The spoof expands to the detective/thriller genre in general. I found this change to be a welcome and charming one. Anyone who is a Bogart fan will appreciate the many references to Bogart movies and famous lines in them. My fascination with Bogart began when I was a freshman in college, and a local theater offered a Bogart festival every semester . . . just when students were supposed to be catching up on their reading and getting ready for final exams. For eight semesters, I spent many happy hours seeing the same Bogart movies . . . over and over again. As Bernie spends three weeks at the movies in this book, I felt like I was back in college again watching him. Hugo Candlemas comes to Bernie's Barnegat Books and mentions that they have a friend in common, Abel Crowe, a fence who appeared in The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza. They arrange to meet later at Hugo's apartment, where Bernie agrees to lift a portfolio from a desk in another apartment for a minimum of $5,000. The actual caper reprises with slight variations some of the highlights of earlier novels in the series like The Burglar in the Closet and The Burglar Who Painted Like Mondrian. The story is set against a backdrop of Bernie falling in love with the beautiful and mysterious Ilona, whom he meets every night to watch two Bogart films, share a tub of popcorn, hold hands and then part in separate cabs. The Ilona thread of the story builds off of Casablanca. After Bernie fails to get secure the portfolio, mysterious strangers begin appearing, making offers for the item. This part of the story builds from some of the base of The Maltese Falcon. Watch for Wilmer in a close reference. Throughout, Bernie finds himself drawn to living the role of the classic Bogart hero, uncaring on the surface . . . but with a heart of gold and the mind of an idealist. You are not supposed to take this mystery and story too seriously, but it does have a nice "dying clue" element that will intrigue many hard core mystery buffs. The theme of this book focuses on what is valuable and what is not. Mr. Block comes down soundly on the side of friends, loyalty and love over mere physical possessions. It's his best critique yet of our obsessions with material goods and so-called wealth. After you enjoy this wonderful book, ask yourself where you could have a richer life by putting people ahead of possessions. Donald Mitchell Co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution, The Irresistible Growth Enterprise and The Ultimate Competitive Advantage

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