The Burglar in Short Order

The Burglar in Short Order

Illustration By Jeffrey Wong

Dust jacket illustration and design by Jeff Wong

A Little Touch of Bernie in the Night

Four decades ago, Mystery Writers of America Grand Master Lawrence Block introduced the world to one of his most beloved and enduring creations: Bernie Rhodenbarr, the clever, nimble-fingered star of novels such as Burglars Can’t Be Choosers, The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, and The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons. Called “the Heifetz of the picklock” by the New York Times, Bernie has stolen not only antiques, stamp collections, and priceless works of art but also millions of readers’ hearts. Now, for all those craving more adventures of their favorite bookseller-by-day and burglar-by-night, The Burglar in Short Order for the first time ever collects all of Bernie’s short-form appearances in one complete volume.

From the story in which a prototype of Bernie first appeared (“A Bad Night For Burglars”) to his appearances in Playboy and (maybe? It’s kinda complicated) Cosmopolitan…from an essay discussing Bernie’s misadventures in Hollywood (how in the world did Whoopi Goldberg ever get cast?) to a piece commissioned by a European publisher for a tourist guide to New York…you’ll find every published story, article, and standalone excerpt Bernie has ever appeared in—plus two new, unpublished pieces: an introduction discussing the character’s colorful origins and an afterword in which the author, contemplating retirement, comes face to face with his own creation.

In all of mystery fiction, there has never been a character like Bernie—and in this, his dozenth book, he demonstrates all the charm and wit and kleptophilic ingenuity that has made two generations of readers welcome their favorite burglar into their homes.

Limited: 250 signed numbered leatherbound copies 

Trade: Fully cloth bound hardcover edition

From Publishers Weekly:

“MWA Grandmaster Block collects 15 tightly crafted and amusing short stories and articles concerning burglar and bookseller Bernie Rhodenbarr, hero of The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling and other novels... A foreword, ‘A Burglar’s Origins,’ and an afterword, ‘A Burglar’s Future,’ are original to this volume. The author’s legion of fans won’t want to miss this one.”

From Booklist:

“What a treat, therefore, to come upon this charming addendum, which collects all of Block’s Bernie short stories as well as several short essays, one describing Bernie’s origins (broke, Block contemplated becoming a thief himself before deciding to write about one instead)… All this backstory will be catnip to Bernie disciples, and the stories are a treat, too, especially ‘The Burglar Who Dropped in on Elvis,’ in which Bernie is charged with breaking into Graceland's impregnable second floor.”

Table of Contents:

  • Foreword: A Burglar’s Origins
  • A Bad Night for Burglars
  • Mr. Rhodenbarr, Bookseller, Advises a Young Customer on Seeking a Vocation
  • The Burglar Who Strove to Go Straight
  • Like a Thief in the Night
  • The Burglar Who Dropped in on Elvis
  • The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke
  • The Burglar Who Collected Copernicus
  • A Burglar’s-Eye View of Greed
  • The Burglar on Location
  • Five Books Bernie Has Read More than Once
  • A Burglar’s Complaint
  • The Burglar Takes a Cat
  • The Burglar on the Screen
  • Afterword: a Burglar’s Future


Jeffrey Wong
Lawrence Block
140 pages
United States