I’ve got six reviews I need to write and two other posts I was meant to be doing today, but they’ve all gone completely out of my head after the news I’ve just seen over on Lawrence Block’s website.

The news that Block is coming out of retirement is welcome enough. (I enjoyed Hit Me, about his stamp-collecting assassin Keller, but reading it was tinged with sadness after newspaper articles quoted him as saying “I have no idea if there will be a next book”.) The swift return of one of the most prolific, and my own personal favourite, of all crime writers is a wonderful surprise.

But not just a new Block, but a new Bernie Rhodenbarr novel after nearly a decade? Truly, this is a miraculous day. Rhodenbarr is only my second favourite crime-solver ever (as amazing as he is, he’s edged out by Block’s hard-bitten private eye, Matt Scudder) but his novels are by far the most rereadable. They’re cleverly-plotted and beautifully written cozy mysteries featuring Bernie himself – a burglar turned bookseller, his best friend Carolyn, a lesbian dog groomer, and Ray Kirschmann, a detective who Bernie refers to as “the best cop money can buy.”

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