Picks and Pans Review: The Burglar Who Thought He Was Bogart

updated 07/03/1995 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/03/1995 01:00AM

by Lawrence Block

Beach Book of the Week

I steal from the rich, and for no better reason than Robin Hood did: the poor, God love 'em, have nothing worth taking." So muses Bernie Rhodenbarr, the part-time thief with a heart of semiprecious metal and a nose for detection. In this caper, Bernie gets tangled up with the king-in-exile of a ficticious Balkan country and a lost pouch of documents that provokes a couple of murders. Shades of Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre lurk behind characters Tiglath Rasmoulian and Hugo Candlemas. And the burglar does the ironic Bogie hero well. Though he loves Ilona, a patriot, provocateur and Ingrid Bergman stand-in, he packs her off with an almost-dry eye on her Important Mission. A master of the form, Block also has some fun with fellow best-seller Sue Grafton's penchant for naming books after letters of the alphabet. Bernie's sidekick Carolyn Kaiser, a dog groomer, can't wait to read I Is for Claudius. As for Bogart, A is for excellent. (Dutton, $21.95)

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