Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Burglar who Painted like Mondrian by Lawrence Block *****

Bernie Rhodenbarr is a burglar, a careful burglar, a skilled burglar. In this strange series, Bernie is the good guy. In The Burglar who Painted like Mondrian by Lawrence Block, his theft of valuable stamps is minor compared to two murders, the theft of Mondrian masterpieces, and the kidnapping of his friend’s Carolyn Kaiser’s cat.

The cat’s name is Archie Goodwin; he is a Burmese. His buddy, Ubi (Ubiquity or Ubiquitous) is a Russian Blue and despondent with the absence of his partner. In what might be the cruelest and most violent part of the book, the kidnapper cuts off some of Archie’s whiskers and mails them to Carolyn.

Archie’s ransom is a Mondrian painting. It turns out that there are several choices, and by the end, Bernie has stolen most of them. Actually, all of them that were not stolen before he could get to them. Unfortunately, a couple of dead bodies show up in places where his attendance is both obvious and inexplicable, making him suspect number one.

If that sounds like a circus of false starts and strange coincidences, you’ve got it right.

If you’re in the market for a cozy mystery with many twists and turns all building to an Agatha Christie-like conclusion with everyone sitting in the living room quietly while Bernie explains what happened and identifies the murders. This is just the book for you.

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