Picks and Pans Review: The Blue Suit

updated 12/04/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/04/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Richard Rayner

Confessional of the Week

ENGAGING AND UNAPOLOGETICALLY candid, this unusual memoir details the life of a Yorkshire lad who, abandoned by his rogue father at age 11, grows up to read philosophy at Cambridge and become a thief and forger. What starts with a love of old books—he nicks a rare volume or two for personal use—escalates to simple greed-based burglary (stealing silver from his family's friends), jail and a down-and-out life in London. Rayner, who falls in with a young titled woman and her equally upper-crust, heroin-addicted husband, offers telling glimpses into the British class system. Reading his colorful history is like happening upon a diary deliberately left open. The 38-year-old author and freelance journalist, who now lives in Los Angeles, has made good use of his demons. (Houghton Mifflin, $19.95)

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