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The Burglar on the Prowl    by Lawrence Block order for
Burglar on the Prowl
by Lawrence Block
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

With Burglar on the Prowl, Lawrence Block proves once again what a storyteller he is. He's a prolific writer, with over fifty books to his credit! My favorite is always the one I happen to be reading at the time. I am never disappointed as Block has never turned out less than an eminently enjoyable book.

Burglar on the Prowl features professional thief Bernie Robenbarr. We've met Bernie before in the series and I love this guy. He is a person unto himself – kind, caring, soft-hearted, gentle, but with an uncontrollable urge to steal. He has so many good qualities that we have to forgive his occasional ventures into a less than honest pursuit. He's even been known to leave a burgled house with less cash than he went in with. An expert at picking locks and entering secure homes, Bernie takes the reader along on one of his nighttime forays into the world of crime. He is aided and abetted by his long-time friend Carolyn.

His nemesis on the New York City police force occasionally recruits the burglar's help, which Bernie is only too happy to provide. In this episode, Bernie, also an antiquarian bookseller, sells a volume to a phone customer who overpays him by $1,287! Murder ensues and the thief we have all grown to know and love solves the case in the style of Hercule Poirrot or Miss Marple. Every suspect (along with anyone else involved in the case) is assembled in one room for the dénouement. The author's acute sense of humor and keen intellect are evident throughout the novel.

I once attended a convention in which Lawrence Block was a speaker, and later shared a cab with him. I found him as laid-back and nimble-witted in real life as the characters that people his books. Don't miss his latest, The Burglar on the Prowl.

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