THE BURGLAR IN THE RYE
By Lawrence Block
by: Pam Stone, MyShelf.Com
This is Bernie Rhodenbarr’s ninth heist. Bernie Rhodenbarr, bookseller by day and burglar by night, is on the prowl again. Alice Cottrell has hired him to steal back the letters of reclusive author Gullivar Fairborn from Anthea Landauthe, who is about to put them up for auction. Bernie breaks into her room to search for the letters, but instead of letters he finds Anthea’s dead body, and the cops are not far behind him. Bernie gathers all the suspects together in one room to see if he can try and weed out the culprit behind the murder that he is accused of.
The Burglar in The Rye is a well-written book, but I had some real problems with it. (1) Every character in the book is involved with the murder, desired letters, or the missing jewels (a subplot). Telltale clues are left throughout the plot, which enables the reader to guess the outcome too early in the book. (2) Next, Block takes one-liners and turns them into several pages of talk, for instance “The Femininity” of Bernie’s lesbian friend, “Carloyn, and Paddington Bear,” or any number of dumb drinking jokes. Who really cares about these things? They didn’t have anything to do with the storyline. Worst of all, the ending of the book is so preposterous; it did not make any sense. I know that Lawrence Block is a great writer and can write a good book because I read “The Hit Man” and it was a grand read. Not this one.
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