Burglar and bookstore owner Bernie Rhodenbarr has always admired novelist Gulliver Fairborn, author of Nobody's Baby. (Think J.D. Salinger and Catcher in the Rye.) As a teenager, Alice Cottrell was the lover of the reclusive Fairborn. Now, literary agent Anthea Landau is going to auction off Fairborn's personal correspondence, and the lovely Alice wants Bernie to do what he does best, and steal the letters.

Bernie can't resist a beautiful lady, but when he breaks into Antheas room, she's a corpse and the police are only one step behind him. Before long, another murder occurs, and in a classic gather-all-the-suspects-in-the-library scene, Bernie solves the crime and even proves that he has scruples.

THE BURGLAR IN THE RYE is a witty, amusing caper. Lawrence Block is a master of the mystery genre, and readers will also delight in all the literary references and word play in the story. All of Block's "Burglar" books are fantastic, but this is a great place to start. (May, 320 pp., $6.99)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg