This wonderful review is from Charles Snee of Yahoo!:
There are times when the characters in a novel are just as entertaining and multi-faceted as the story line. Such is the case for Lawrence Block’s latest Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery: his self-published The Burglar Who Counted The Spoons, which he penned over the course of a five-week cruise in the North Atlantic this past summer.
Time for a dash of self-disclosure: I am not a well-versed (much less an avid) fan of the mystery genre. The last mystery that I read, decades ago for a high-school English assignment, was Agatha Christie’s Elephants Can Remember. They sure can, but I can’t remember anything about that novel. Nonetheless, when Block announced that Rhodenbarr was going in for a fresh round of purloining, after a hiatus of almost 10 years, the urge to meet Bernie was too demanding to ignore.
Block describes Bernie as a “lighthearted and light-fingered fellow.” That he indubitably is, as the playful banter between him and Carolyn Kaiser (his trusty confidant and sidekick) – sprinkled throughout with bad puns and double entendres – amply attests. But he also is a keen appreciator of history and of the written word. As the proprietor of Barnegat Books in Greenwich Village, how could he not be?
As one might gather from the title, buttons figure prominently in Bernie’s clandestine, nighttime engagements, as does a fair bit of history surrounding a prominent American Colonial silversmith by the name of Myer Myers and, in particular, his creation of a set of apostle’s spoons.
You’re not familiar with apostle’s spoons? Not to worry. Bernie helpfully provides a brief précis. “You know what a spoon is, right?” he begins. And you can’t help but keep reading, despite his parenthetical admonition to elide past the details: “Look, if you already know all this, skip ahead. It was all news to me.” And to this reviewer as well, but it still made for fascinating reading. A history lesson wrapped inside a mystery. Who knew?
And so it goes throughout the story, as Bernie helps Ray, the NYPD detective, unravel the mystery, he treats the reader to myriad other historical vignettes.
Intrigued yet? Well, you should be. And if you enjoy learning about the past, tuck yourself into your favorite easy chair, pour yourself a Scotch (Bernie would be proud) and dig in. Come for the mystery and stay for the history. You’ll be glad you did.