The Burglar in the Closet by Lawrence Block


Cozy Mystery

The Burglar in the Closet The Burglar in the ClosetLawrence Block; Signet 1997WorldCat

Bernie Rhodenbarr tends to keep his real trade quiet. When someone asks what he does, he says he’s in investments. He does invest, in a way – other people’s things. Bernie is a burglar. He is good at what he does. But he doesn’t advertise.

When he is sitting in Dr. Sheldrake’s dental chair with his tooth being poked, Sheldrake jovially informs Bernie that he knows what Bernie really does. He wants Bernie to do a special favor for him. His ex-wife has a lot of jewelry he bought without paying taxes on the income. He wants it back, or at least away from her. Sheldrake proposes that Bernie steal the jewelry from Crystal Sheldrake and split it between them.

Bernie reluctantly agrees. They set up the arrangements. Then Bernie enters Crystal’s apartment. He stays a little too long and hears her come home with a man. He hides in the closet and carefully closes his ears until the man leaves. She starts a shower and Bernie starts to sneak out. Someone comes back to her door. She leaves the shower and answers the door while Bernie stays in the closet. While he is hiding, someone murders Crystal and walks off with “Bernie’s” jewelry.

Sheldrake is accused of the murder. Bernie doesn’t believe the dentist did it even though a dental pick was found in the woman’s chest. So Bernie starts investigating – to find the real murderer, and more importantly, get his jewelry back.

This detective novel is fun with a twist at the end that I had seen coming. It is told in first person narrative, giving the reader the point of view of an ethical burglar. Is there such a thing as an ethical burglar? Anyway, it’s fun watching Bernie try to solve the mystery without getting himself landed in jail for the murder. This is a light, quick read.

Notice: Suggestive dialogue or situations

More books by Lawrence Block
Bernie Rhodenbarr series at Stop! You’re Killing Me!

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