Review: The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling

The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling
The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling by Lawrence Block
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to read this book, but not yet, dagnabbit. I wanted to read Club Dumas by Arturo Pérez-Reverte first. But somewhere between the library website, my PC, and my e-reader, some wires got crossed. So, in a fit of pique I grabbed Bernie #3 instead.

And by coincidence, like Club Dumas, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling is also a murder mystery about books. (I mean, I think that’s what Pérez-Reverte’s novel is about. I’ve only read a few pages!) Block’s novel is about a burglar who moonlights as bookseller, gets involved in a scam that goes sideways, and has to solve the crime to keep from being convicted of the murder himself.

So, yeah, like I said, I didn’t want to read this one yet, even though I was going to get to it eventually. But at least it’s kind of in the same realm. And while a good book in a cozy room on a frosty day is a treasure, when the book is about books, it just makes it that much more satisfying.

I’m not going to say that Block wastes the subject matter on his silly little thief, because Block writes too well for any of his reads to be a waste. But I do have to wonder what a writer of his talents could do if he decided to go full Pérez-Reverte. Or Ruiz Zafon. Or even full Eco. Because this quick little book (I polished it off in a few hours while work was slow) is chock full of either precise research or an obvious love of bibliophilia.

If that’s not your bag though, never fear: it’s also chock full of lock picks and stolen cash and semi-crooked cops. Also, we get a new side-kick for Bernie, a good-luck Pontiac, and a Polaroid camera to keep us rooted in the late 70s.

I’m going to try the library website again, but don’t surprised if my next read is The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza, because what else am I going to do this afternoon?

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