The Burglar in the Closet (Bernie Rhodenbarr Series #2)

The Burglar in the Closet (Bernie Rhodenbarr Series #2)

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by Lawrence Block
     
 

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It's hard to ignore someone with his hands in your mouth. Bernie Rhodenbarr's all ears when Dr. Sheldrake, his dentist, starts complaining about his detestable, soon-to-be-ex wife, and happens to mention the valuable diamonds she keeps lying around the apartment. Since Bernie's been known to supplement his income as a bookstore owner with the not-so-occasional bout

Overview

It's hard to ignore someone with his hands in your mouth. Bernie Rhodenbarr's all ears when Dr. Sheldrake, his dentist, starts complaining about his detestable, soon-to-be-ex wife, and happens to mention the valuable diamonds she keeps lying around the apartment. Since Bernie's been known to supplement his income as a bookstore owner with the not-so-occasional bout of high-rise burglary, a couple of nights later he's in the Sheldrake apartment with larceny on his mind — and has to duck into a closet when the lady of the house makes an unexpected entrance. Unfortunately he's still there when an unseen assailant does Mrs. Sheldrake in . . . and then vanishes with the jewels.

Bernie's got to come out of the closet some time. But when he does, he'll be facing a rap for a murder he didn't commit — and for a burglary he certainly attempted — unless he can hunt down the killer who left him hanging.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780394423746
Publisher:
Random House, Incorporated
Publication date:
08/28/1978
Series:
Bernie Rhodenbarr Series , #2

Read an Excerpt

The Burglar in the Closet


By Lawrence Block

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright ©2006 Lawrence Block
All right reserved.

ISBN: 006087273X

Chapter One

"Gramercy Park," said Miss Henrietta Tyler, "is an oasis in the middle of a cruel sea, a respite from the slings and arrows of which the Bard has warned us." A sigh escaped her lips, the sort of sigh that follows upon the contemplation of an oasis in the middle of a sea. "Young man," she said, "I do not know what I would do without this blessed green plot. I simply do not know what I would do."

The blessed green plot is a private park tucked into Manhattan's East Twenties. There is a fence around the park, a black wrought-iron fence seven or eight feet high. A locked gate denies access to persons who have no legal right to enter. Only those persons who live in certain buildings surrounding the park and who pay an annual fee toward its maintenance are issued keys that will unlock the iron gate.

Miss Henrietta Tyler, who was seated on the green bench beside me, had such a key. She had told me her name, along with much of her personal history, in the fifteen minutes or so we'd been sitting together. Given time, I was fairly sure she'd tell me everything that had occurred in New York since her birth, which I calculated had taken place just a year or two after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. She was a dear old thing, was Miss Henrietta, and shewore a sweet little hat with a veil. My grandmother used to wear sweet little hats with veils. You don't see them much anymore.

"Absence of dogs," Miss Henrietta was saying. "I'm ever so glad they don't allow dogs in this park. It's the only spot left in the city where one may walk without constantly scanning the pavement beneath one's feet. A disgusting animal, the dog. It leaves its dirt anywhere at all. The cat is infinitely more fastidious, isn't it? Not that I would care to have one underfoot. I've never understood this compulsion people have to bring animals into their houses. Why, I wouldn't even care to have a fur coat. Let that sort of thing stay in the forest where it belongs."

I'm sure Miss Henrietta wouldn't have talked thus to a stranger. But strangers, like dogs, are not to be found in Gramercy Park. My presence in the park indicated that I was decent and respectable, that I had a rewarding occupation or an independent income, that I was one of Us and not one of Them. My clothes had certainly been chosen to reinforce that image. My suit was a tropical worsted, a windowpane check in light and dark gray. My shirt was light blue with a medium-length button-down collar. My tie carried stripes of silver and sky blue on a navy field. The attaché case at my feet was a slim model in cocoa Ultrasuede that had cost someone a pretty penny.

I looked, all in all, like a bachelor taking a breather in the park after a hard day in a stuffy office. Perhaps I'd stopped somewhere for a bracing brace of martinis. Now I was taking some air on this balmy September evening before I trotted on home to my well-appointed apartment, there to pop a TV dinner in the microwave oven and inhale a beer or two while the Mets dropped a squeaker on the tube.

Well, not quite, Miss Henrietta.

No hard day, no stuffy office. No martinis, because I do not permit myself so much as a sniff of the cork when I am about to go to work. And there's no microwave oven in my modest apartment, and no TV dinners either, and I stopped watching the Mets when they traded Seaver. My apartment's on the Upper West Side, several miles from Gramercy Park, and I didn't pay a cent for the Ultrasuede attaché case, having appropriated it some months ago while liberating an absent gentleman's coin collection. I'm sure it had cost him a pretty penny, and God knows it contained any number of pretty pennies when I waltzed out the door with it in hand.

Why, I didn't even have a key to the park. I'd let myself in with a cunning little piece of high-tempered German steel. The lock on the gate is a shockingly simple one to pick. It's surprising more people don't let themselves in when they want to spend an hour away from dogs and strangers.

"This business of running around the park," Miss Henrietta was saying. "There goes one of them now. Look at him, won't you?"

I looked. The chap in question was around my age, somewhere in his middle thirties, but he'd lost a good deal of his hair. Perhaps he'd run out from under it. He was running now, or jogging, or whatever.

"You see them day and night, winter and summer. There's no end to it. On cold days they wear those suits, sweating suits I believe they're called. Unbecoming gray things. On a warm night like tonight they wear cotton shorts. Is it healthy to carry on like that, do you suppose?"

"Why else would anyone do it?"

Miss Henrietta nodded. "But I can't believe it's good for one," she said. "It looks so unpleasant. You don't do anything of the sort, do you?"

"Every once in a while I think it might be good for me. But I just take two aspirin and lie down until the thought passes."

"I believe that's wise. It appears ridiculous, for one thing, and nothing that looks so ridiculous can possibly be good for you." Once more a sigh escaped her lips. "At least they're constrained to do it outside the park," she said, "and not inside the park. We've that to be thankful for."

"Like the dogs."

She looked at me, and her eyes glinted behind the veil. "Why, yes," she said. "Quite like the dogs."

Continues...


Excerpted from The Burglar in the Closet by Lawrence Block Copyright ©2006 by Lawrence Block. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Lawrence Block is one of the most widely recognized names in the mystery genre. He has been named a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America and is a four-time winner of the prestigious Edgar and Shamus Awards, as well as a recipient of prizes in France, Germany, and Japan. He received the Diamond Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association—only the third American to be given this award. He is a prolific author, having written more than fifty books and numerous short stories, and is a devoted New Yorker and an enthusiastic global traveler.

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The Burglar in the Closet (Bernie Rhodenbarr Series #2) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to Hot Topic. They have the best dresses. Not too long, not too short, and light. I really like the ones that are black on top, and have a disney scene on the skirt. I plan on wearing dresses next year and try to break them into my style. Also, you don't have to wear high-heels. You can wear flats(which may hurt like fu<_>ck at first), too. They're much easier to walk in, but try walkimg around in them for a while to make them you. The back of my ankles have scars from wearing flats...You might get them, too, if you wear them. To dress like a girl, all you have to wear are skinny jeans, and a t-shirt. At least that's what I do. Except girls shirts don't have such a tight neck hole(?). And if you want to wear something comfortable, wear something like a long sweater and leggings. I personally hate scarfs like the ones girls are wearing now...But do't listen to me- You dress however you want! :p Oh, and you DO NOT HAVE TO WEAR MAKEUP!!!! xD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(1) when ur wearing high-heels step with the heel first. The shie should make 2 sounds in one step. First with the heel then toe, heel then toe, heel then toe (2) Try the circle skirts that have a lot if fabric in them. They r casual cute and fun! (3) try an Infinity Scarf. They are flowy and can come in some awesome desinges! Theyre not stuffy at all. Hope this helped!- Shadow&starf<_>Rider
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So, I think I'll probably come back to clothes at some point, because I don't think I can cover everything all at once. This is my fourth blog post, and... yeah, I enjoy getting out there and telling the world about me! <p> So, the thing about crossdressing is that you have to do with what you can find. Mostly, I wear clothes that I find in the laundry, but I often wear my more androgynous clothes, too. <p> I like wearing sweaters with sleeves long enough to cover my hands, because it makes me feel smaller. I also like long socks, and sweatpants, and small denim jackets. You know, the ones that are short in the torso, but with normal-length sleeves. I have yet to try on a scarf that isn't stuffy, but once I find one, I'll probably wear it all the time to hide my adam's apple. <p> I haven't tried on many dresses, and fewer skirts, but I don't like the idea of a really poofy dress. Or skirt. I'm also not sure how I'd feel avout wearing a super-short skirt. I won't want a super-heavy dress, either. Or would it be a ballgown? I'm not as well-versed in fashion as I'd like to be. <p> Shoes are another problem. I'd like to wear heels, but I'm pretty tall already. I've practiced walking in them, and I can walk around a bit without stumbling too much. <p> Here's something I thought of that I liked: what if there was a dress that was a combination of a knee-length skirt and a hoodie? The zipper would only go down two or three inches, so it would be mostly decorative, or maybe it would have a v-neckline altogether. I just hadn't ever seen or heard of anything like it, so I thought it might be interesting. What do you think? <br> Please share your thoughts. What are some of your favorite outfits? Where should I look to catch up on fashion terms? Any questions or future topics? Thanks! ^AliCat^
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Another entertaining read by Mr. Block.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Number two in this series. Much like the first. A burglar and a murder. Very short, cute story, but I will not read another. If they are all basically the same why bother?
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