MYSTERY

The Burglar in Short Order

Subterranean. Feb. 2020. 144p. ISBN 9781596069572. pap. $30. M
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In 1977, Block introduced Bernie Rhodenbarr in Burglars Can’t Be Choosers. By day Bernie runs a used bookstore with his cat Raffles, but by night his adventures as a burglar often land him in the path of a murder that he must solve in order to clear his good name. A charming thief who likes Scotch and women, Bernie is a beloved character with a devoted following. This collection includes all of the short stories and pieces Bernie has appeared in over his lifetime in various publications, as well as two new pieces. The first is the author’s own story of Bernie’s origins and evolution, and a clever afterword has Bernie confronting his maker, voicing his complaint that while the world around him changes, he stays the same year after year, frozen in time.
VERDICT Enthusiasts of the “Burglar” series will delight in revisiting Bernie’s beginnings, his bookshop, and his introduction to Raffles. Readers new to the series will enjoy this introduction to a charming character.

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