After Small Town, Block's very dark standalone novel about the aftermath of 9/11, his new Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery comes as comic relief. This time the antiquarian book dealer/burglar is asked by a friend to burgle the home of the man who stole the friend's girlfriend. But a few days before the scheduled break-in, Bernie begins to feel itchy and decides to go on the prowl: "Walking the dark streets, gloves in one pocket, tools in the other, risking life and liberty for no good reason. I knew what I was doing, and I damned well should have known better." His little misadventure leads him to an encounter with a date rapist, accusations of murder, and the burglary of his own home. While the book sinks at the end with an overly convoluted drawing room scene, Block keeps the reader entertained throughout with his charming, eccentric characters and trade-mark humor. (One running gag: Bernie keeps trying to read the latest John Sandford best seller, Lettuce Prey, about a serial killer of vegetarians, but is continually interruped.) For most mystery collections.
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