The year is 1917. Risking winter storms and German torpedoes, the Emersons are heading for Egypt once again: Amelia, Emerson, their son Ramses and his wife Nefret. Emerson is counting on a long season of excavation without distractions but this proves to be a forlorn hope. Yet again they unearth a dead body in a looted tomb – not a mummified one though, this one is only too fresh, and it leads the clan on a search for the man who has threatened them with death if they pursue the excavations. If that wasn't distraction enough, Nefret reveals a secret she has kept hidden: there is reason to believe that Sethos, master criminal and spy may be helping the enemy. It's up to the Emersons to find out, and either prove his innocence – or prevent him from betraying Britain 's plans to take Jerusalem and win the war in the Middle East.
The first Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery. Introducing Bernie Rhodenbarr, N.Y.C.'s prince of thieves – who really should have known better! When the mysterious pear shaped man with a lot of uncomfortably accurate information about Bernie and his career offered him five big ones to liberate a blue leather box – unopened – from an East Side apartment, it would have been a good time to plead a previous engagement…but times were tough. Everything was straightforward – the box was where it should have been but before the liberation took place, two men in blue coats turned up. Still all was not lost, there was always a way to work things out…that was before they discovered the body in the bedroom and Bernie decided to leg it.
From Library Journal
Block introduced Evan Tanner, specialist in lost political causes, in this rousing, often comic 1966 yarn. Unable to sleep for 15 years following a Korean War head wound, Tanner devotes his considerable free time to reading, learning languages, and turning his affliction into a livelihood by writing theses and dissertations for graduate students in New York. Then he learns of hidden Armenian gold in Turkey and sets off on an unlikely adventure that makes him the most wanted fugitive in the world as well as the accidental leader of a Macedonian revolt. Block's tale gets off to an engaging start, sags in the middle partly because of some bone-jarring violence, and recovers neatly at the end. Nick Sullivan handles the characters' many accents quite well. Highly recommended.
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.
Cold War superspy Evan Tanner lost the ability to sleep on a battlefield in Korea. So where the heck has he been since the ’70s? Frozen. Cryogenically. A Tanner-sicle. Which he never thought would happen when he walked into a basement in Union City, New Jersey, more than a quarter century ago. Now he’s unthawed and ready to rumble, and his somewhat addled, former super-secret boss, “the Chief,” is glad his favorite operative’s active again. Tanner awoke to a different world, though some bad things have remained the same… or gotten worse. Even before he can fully acclimate himself to this perplexing future, Tanner’s off to Burma (which isn’t really Burma anymore) to pose as a monk, destabilize the government, dodge a lethal double-cross, and rescue a beautiful prisoner. The world’s still full of conspiracy, corruption, greed, political chicanery – and beautiful women. So Tanner’s back with a vengeance, with a lot of lost time to make up for.
In the realm of larceny, there's no one quite like Bernie Rhodenbarr. A gentleman, a bookseller, and a thief, Bernie steals with style. But now Lawrence Block's beloved criminal has discovered one of the abiding truths about the burglary business: Two's company. Three is definitely a crowd. The second burglars were Bernie and his dog grooming partner, Carolyn. They came to rob the Colcannons' West Side brownstone while the couple was out of town having their own personal burglar alarm – a Bouvier named Astrid – bred. But when Bernie and Carolyn break in they discover that they've already been beaten to the punch. Fortunately for Bernie, the first burglars left behind some decent goods, including a pair of emerald earrings, a fine Piaget watch, and a valuable coin that could just be too hot to handle. But of course he takes it anyway. The Colcannon home, though, still has a busy night ahead, and the next morning one person is dead. And when the next murder strikes uncomfortably close to home, it's time for Bernie to go to work. Because somewhere between a bungled burglary, a nasty case of double homicide, and a rare nickel is a case that makes little sense.
It’s a jungle out there. Literally. At least for Evan Tanner, eternally sleepless sometime superspy, who finds himself in Africa on the trail of the AWOL ruler of tiny Modonoland. It seems the petty despot’s gone missing, and he’s taken the state treasury along with him. No stranger to impossible missions and international peril, Tanner’s been in over his head before. This time, however, he’s in imminent danger of being buried alive. And it all has to do with the CIA, white supremacists, moderate revolutionaries… and a blond jungle bombshell named (no joke!) Sheena. Tanner’s always been a sucker for a pretty face and a curvaceous body, especially one that’s wrapped in leopard skin. But this red hot renegade daughter of a local missionary is a man-eater. Which means this time Tanner’s goose is well and truly cooked.
Evan Tanner ran head-first into a piece of shrapnel in Korea, and now he can’t sleep. Ever. Which can be an asset for a dedicated linguist, term paper forger, thief, lost cause enthusiast… Spy. Tanner takes on jobs for a covert intelligence organization so secret that even those who work for it have no idea who they’re working for. Now his nameless supervisor wants him to sneak behind the Iron Curtain, storm an impregnable castle in Prague (alone!), and rescue an old Slovak who’s got a pressing date with a hangman’s noose. The trouble is the prisoner is an unrepentant Nazi who makes Goering look like Mister Rogers. Tanner hates Nazis. If he’s caught (which is likely) the U.S. will deny that they know him. And Tanner will be executed. After being tortured, no doubt. All in all, there are many excellent reasons why Tanner should refuse this assignment. So, naturally, he says yes.
Sometime spy Evan Tanner has accepted impossible assignments for many reasons: money, thrills, to have something to occupy his waking hours (twenty-four of them every day, in fact, since battlefield shrapnel obliterated his brain’s sleep center). But this might be the first time he’s put his life on the line… for love. Tanner’s agreed to smuggle a sexy Latvian gymnast – the lost lady love of a heart-sick friend – out of Russia. With the Cold War at its chilliest and the Iron Curtain slammed shut, this will not be easy, especially since everybody in Eastern Europe, it seems, wants to tag along, including a subversive Slav author and the six-year-old heir to the nonexistent Lithuanian throne. But that’s not the biggest hurdle. The gymnast refuses to budge unless Tanner rescues her eleven delightfully limber teammates as well – and that might be raising the bar too lethally high for even the ever-resourceful Evan Tanner to clear.
Bernie Rhodenbarr – a romantic? Hey, even burglars fall in love and in this case it's Bernie doing the falling, with the lovely and alluring Ilona. Night after night, sharing popcorn in the flickering shadow of a Bogie movie, Bernie finds himself tongue-tied – sometimes literally. It would appear Ilona's now doing all the stealing. Well, not really. Bernie's been approached by the oddly named Hugo Candlemas to pilfer a posh East Side apartment, make off with the portfolio and collect a fast, easy sum. A reasonable enough request for a trained burglar, sure, but just when things are going well, things turn bad.
If the only side of Lawrence Block you know is the dark and gloomy Matt Scudder books, such as the noir classic When the Sacred Ginmill Closes, then you might be surprised to hear that he's also one of the most delightfully droll writers in the mystery business.
"I hurried uptown and changed into chinos and a short-sleeved shirt that would have been an Alligator except that the embroidered device on the breast was not that reptile but a bird in flight. I guess it was supposed to be a swallow, either winging its way back to Capistrano or not quite making a summer, because the brand name was Swallowtail. It had never quite caught on and I can understand why." That's Bernie Rhodenbarr, used book dealer and gentleman burglar, making a literary fashion statement in this latest return to print of one of Block's best books about him.
Lawrence Block is such a gifted writer that even a native New Yorker will be fooled into thinking that the Paddington Hotel, described in the opening pages of Burglar in the Rye, is a real institution. Block's descriptions of this enclave of artists, writers, and rock musicians is thoroughly convincing-although in actuality, the Paddington is a combination of the real-life Chelsea Hotel and Block's outrageous imagination.
This is Bernie Rhodenbarr's ninth heist. Bernie is a gentleman burglar who runs a used bookstore in between criminal acts, steals mostly from the rich, and only hurts people when it becomes absolutely necessary.
The Paddington is where Bernie goes to liberate the letters of a reclusive writer named Gulliver Fairborn from a literary agent. Fairborn 's resemblance to J.D. Salinger and, of course, the fact that the woman who hired Bernie to steal the letters had an affair with Fairborn when she was a teenager, no doubt lend the book its title. But by the time Bernie gets to the Paddington, the agent has been shot, the letters already liberated-and a cop in the lobby recognizes our favorite burglar from a previous encounter.
Now all Bernie has to do is find out who else wanted those letters badly enough to kill for them. In typical Rhodenbarr tradition, the plot is less interesting than the trappings: the books Bernie reads, the fascinating
Evan Tanner can’t sleep. Ever. Which gives him plenty of free time to get involved in lots of interesting endeavors in all sorts of exotic locales. Now Tanner’s in Thailand with a partially baked plan and a butterfly net, hoping to snare a beautiful missing chanteuse who’s metamorphosed into an international jewel thief. Tanner hopes everyone will buy his disguise as a rare butterfly researcher. And everyone does… Except the guerilla band holding him captive. They intend to remove his head when the sun rises, so Tanner must put his fate in the hands of a randy Thai youth who will do anything for a woman, even set a suspected spy free. Soon they’re running through the jungle together, chased by bandits, soldiers, and yellow fever, and racing headlong into the heart of darkness – and into the flames of war.
The Cold War’s boiling over. Global tensions are near the breaking point. So what’s the perfect assignment for a super-spy who hasn't slept since the Korean conflict? A fun-filled trip to the Montreal World’s Fair! The adorable little girl he's escorting – who, under different circumstances, would be sitting on the Lithuanian throne – can hardly contain her excitement, but it isn’t all playtime for Evan Tanner. Some mysterious disappearances, apparently linked to the fair’s Cuban exhibition, need to be looked into. Keeping his mind on business, however, won’t be easy after an insatiable lovely in a tiger skin falls into Tanner’s arms, and a mother lode of dangerous drugs falls into his lap. But the biggest, deadliest surprise is the terrorist plot Tanner’s tumbling into, and he’ll have to think and act quickly to prevent the visiting queen of England from being blown to smithereens.
The CIA, the FBI, the KGB, Interpol – not one of the world’s premier intelligence organizations knows quite what to make of Evan Michael Tanner. Is he a spy, a mercenary, a footloose adventurer, or simply a screwball sucker for hopeless causes? (Actually he’s a little bit of all of the above. Plus he never sleeps. Ever.) One thing’s for sure: Tanner’s a true romantic, which is why he can’t refuse a distraught mother who begs him to rescue her lost, pure-as-driven-snow daughter. Phaedra Harrow (nee Deborah Horowitz) once shared Tanner’s apartment but not his bed. And now the virginal beauty’s been abducted by white slavers in the Afghan wilderness. Finding Phaedra will be difficult enough. Bringing her back alive and unmolested may be impossible. And first Tanner will have to swim the English Channel, survive trigger-happy Russian terrorists… and maybe pull off a timely assassination or two.
What's Bernie Rhodenbarr doing in the country? He is a New York kind of guy, an urbane antiquarian bookseller who moonlights as a buttoned down burglar. Until an impossibly rare Raymond Chandler novel dedicated to Dashiell Hammett lures him and his buddy, Carolyn, from their own turf to the hills of Western Massachusetts. Before they knows it, they're smack in the middle of Agatha Christie country and you know what that means. A classic English country house. A guest list awash in eccentricity. And the snow keeps falling. And the bridge is out. And the phone lines are cut. And, one by one, somebody's killing off the guests. And…shhhh! There's a burglar in the library!
Bookseller, thief – Bernie Rhodenbarr can't resist the lure or a long lost Kipling poem, even if it is locked inside a millionaire's high security library. So Bernie goes browsing and sure enough he liberates the object in question…but also finds a dead redhead and is caught with the proverbial smoking gun by those boys in blue, who are ready to book Bernie for Murder One!
The thing about being a burglar is it’s a secret best kept to yourself. Bernie Rhodenbarr discovers that his dentist knows he’s a burglar and it seems that Dr. Sheldrake needs a burglar to steal back some valuable diamonds from his soon-to-be-ex-wife, Crystal. Bernie’s visit to the Sheldrake home is thwarted by a visitor, so he hides in the closet. When Bernie emerges he finds Crystal lying dead on the floor – a dental instrument the apparent murder weapon – and the diamonds gone.
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