From the Publisher
“This [is an] impressive debut, a comic whodunit. . . . Howard is a fresh, irreverent creation who will make readers eager for his next exploit.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Charlie is agreeable company, producing that stream of witty patter that seems quintessentially British as he narrates his own skilled thievery and flights of quick thought . . . seeing the pieces fly together at the end without a single missing bit is pretty fun.” Houston Chronicle
“Ewan's droll, funny, noirish style, cleverly drawn central character, and great descriptions of locale will make this a popular new series.” Library Journal
This impressive debut, a comic whodunit from British entertainment lawyer Ewan, owes much of its charm and success to its compelling antihero, Charles Howard. An established author of mysteries featuring a burglar-detective, Howard himself is a successful burglar. While finishing his latest novel in Amsterdam, Howard receives a cryptic invitation via his Web site and follows his curiosity to a meeting with a mysterious American who somehow knows of the author's secret profession. Howard initially declines the commission to steal two small plaster monkeys, but when he succeeds in his assignment, he finds his client has been brutally bludgeoned. After becoming a suspect, Howard scrambles to understand the link between the monkeys and a diamond heist over a decade earlier. The ease with which Ewan creates a memorable protagonist and pits him against a plausible and tricky killer will be the envy of many more established authors. The detection is first-rate, and Howard is a fresh, irreverent creation who will make readers eager for his next exploit. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Charlie Howard writes mysteries. He's also a thief, supplementing his literary income with a small heist now and then. He's living in Amsterdam working on his latest book, when one night an American approaches him in a bar with a request for what seems like the simple theft of a couple of small monkey figurines. While Charlie is off breaking and entering, the American gets killed, and Charlie is arrested for murder the next morning. Not wanting to admit his guilt for the burglary to prove his innocence of murder in a language he doesn't really understand, he requests an English-speaking public defender. In walks Rutherford, and together they set out to find the real killer. Can Charlie clear his name? Does he get to keep the money? Will he finish his latest book on time? Ewan's debut won the 2006 Long Barn Books first novel competition in the United Kingdom. His droll, funny, noirish style, cleverly drawn central character, and great descriptions of locale will make this a popular new series. Recommended for all mystery collections. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ7/07; Long Barn is the publishing house owned by British mystery author Susan Hill (The Pure in Heart).-Ed.]
Susan Clifford Braun
A gentleman thief gets involved with the Amsterdam cops. Charlie Howard writes crime novels whose protagonist is a burglar. He knows whereof he writes because when he's not under his muse's spell, he's often breaking and entering. Measured by time he hasn't spent in the slammer, he's an upper-echelon thief, caught just once when a Quixotic impulse made him return the swag-a mistake never to be repeated. But now Charlie's been arrested by the Amsterdam-Amstelland police, who like him a lot for a murder he most certainly didn't commit. Meanwhile, two hard guys have demonstrated a willingness to beat his brains out at every opportunity, while an enigmatic blonde can't seem to decide whether or not he belongs on her enemies list. It all started with a tiny trio of cheap see-no-evil/hear-no-evil/speak-no-evil figurines carved in plaster of Paris that Charlie was offered a substantial sum to heist. Why? And why are the simian three suddenly real MacGuffins, with everybody in Amsterdam, apart from Charlie, hot for them? It seems like a good time for Charlie to find out what's what so that he can take care of monkey business. A decent first effort, even if Charlie Howard can't yet carry Bernie Rhodenbarr's lock-picks.