Bernie Rhodenbarr is a burglar with a droll sense of humor. He's what used to be called "a gentleman thief." Bernie owns a Greenwich Village bookshop and sidelines as a burglar. He's not above using his sticky fingers to assist a friend. As a favor to a confederate, Bernie agrees to finger the cash in a smarmy plastic surgeon's wall safe. Bernie is a cautious man and decides to case the joint before actually robbing it. While out, he decides to burgle a random apartment. Unfortunately, unfortunate things ultimately occur.
Bernie is caught via technology; his image is caught on an ATM security camera and he's arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Talk about irony. While he's working his way through the legal system, Bernie's apartment is robbed (the irony is running rampant in this tale). Raffles (the cat), Carolyn (a neighbor and dog groomer), and Ray (a not-totally-on-the-up-and-up policeman who enjoys arresting Bernie) are regulars and all in attendance in this story.
At the end, Bernie pulls a Hercule Poirot, meaning that he gathers everyone together and unravels the plot of coincidences. I thought it was a tour-de-force by the author, but us mere mortals didn't have a prayer to figure it out beforehand. The plot is full of the unlikely, improbable, and nearly impossible.
Bernie Rhodenbarr Series
-- skipped some in this series --
9.The Burglar in the Rye (1999)
** 10.The Burglar on the Prowl (2004)
11.The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons (2013)
The Burglar on the Prowl by Lawrence Block
A very intelligent known burglar (Bernie Rhodenbarr) with his lesbian best friend along as a lookout, has been asked by a friend to break into a house to collect a large sum of money known to be in the safe. The plot thickens when while he was canvassing the neighborhood a few days before the big heist was to place he is spotted on cameras as being in the area and that same night 3 people end up burglarized and dead.
The policeman who brings him in has had dealings with him in the past and is convinced he is the only one who could have the skills to do this particular break in. The media coverage showing Bernie's involvement soon have the true killers, who never got what they were looking for, breaking into Bernie's place and keeping watch outside his place of business.
Later, Bernie and the detective work together, going back to the scene of the crime to try to find the true killers and the item everyone is looking for. ￼
It seemed like it would be a simple heist -- just pull some cash from a wall safe -- but complications ensue. And thatlovable burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr unexpectedly finds himself immersed in a plot to find a Latvian bad guy. There are so many subplots that it isn't always easy to keep up with them. But Bernie manages to tie all the loose ends together by the last page.