Kelp has a plan, and John Dortmunder knows that means trouble. His friend Kelp is a jinx, and his schemes, no matter how well intentioned, tend to spiral quickly out of control. But this one, Kelp swears, is airtight. He read it in a book.
In county lock-up for a traffic charge, Kelp came across a library of trashy novels by an author named Richard Stark. The hero is a thief named Parker whose plans, unlike Kelp and Dortmunder's, always work out. In one, Parker orchestrates a kidnapping so brilliant that, Kelp thinks, it would have to work in real life.
All it takes is a few underhanded moves by a tough ex-cop named Eppick to pull thief John Dortmunder into a game he never wanted to play. With no choice, he sets out on a perilous treasure hunt for a long-lost gold and jewel-studded chess set once intended as a birthday gift for the last Romanov czar. Success is not inevitable with Dortmunder leading the attack, but he's nothing if not persistent, and some gambit or other might just stumble into a winning move.
"Dufris is a marvel!"
With the help of an unusual set of cronies, bank robber John Dortmunder puts a set of wheels under a trailer that just happens to be the temporary site of the Capitalists' & Immigrants' Trust and hauls it away. But when the safe won't open and the cops get close, Dortmunder realizes he's got to find a place to ditch the "bank".
"great story - well narrated!!!"
John Dortmunder doesn't like manual labor. So when he gets the offer of money to dig up a grave, he balks . . . then he wonders why Fitzroy Guilderpost, criminal mastermind, wants to pull a switcheroo of two 70-years-dead Indians.
"Twisted plot about twisted characters."
Specialist in the scam, the con, and the rip-off, Jerry Manelli is running around New York hot on the trail of a priest: a thousand-year-old, two-foot-tall, ugly, misshapen, dancing Aztec priest made of solid gold, with eyes of pure emeralds, worth a million dollars. Somebody stole it from its museum home in South America and smuggled it through U.S. Customs in a shipment of plastic imitations. But the wrong one got delivered, and the million dollar statue, mixed with the fifteen copies, is somewhere in New York.
"Not ideal for casual listening"
Eluding the law has always been high on Dortmunder's list. But getting caught red-handed is inevitable in his next caper, when a TV producer convinces this thief and his merry gang to star in a reality show that captures their next score. The producer even guarantees to keep the show from being used as evidence against them. They're dubious at first, but the pay's good, so they sign on.
"Westlake's best book"
John Dortmunder and company are hired by an U.N. African Ambassador to steal the famed Balabomo Emerald from the hands of a rival African country. But their daring and clever burglarly goes awry, and the emerald slips through their fingers. Undaunted, Dortmunder chases the gem by plane, train and automobile in hot pursuit of the hot rock.
"Dortmunder is on his game in this fun introduction"
It would take a miracle to keep Dortmunder out of jail. Though he cased the electronics store perfectly, the cops surprised him, turning up in the alley just as he was walking out the back door, a television in each hand. Already a two-time loser, without divine intervention he faces a long stretch inside. Then God sends J. Radcliffe Stonewiler, a celebrity lawyer who gets Dortmunder off with hardly any effort at all. Stonewiler was sent by Arnold Chauncey, an art lover with a cash-flow problem. He asks the thief to break into his house and make off with a valuable painting in exchange for a quarter of the insurance money.
"Another Dortmunder mis-adventure."
Mavis St. Paul had been a rich man's mistress. Now she was a corpse. And every cop in New York City was hunting for the two-bit punk accused of putting a knife in her. But the punk was innocent. He'd been set up to take the fall by some cutie who was too clever by half. My job? Find that cutie - before the cutie found me.
The Byzantine Fire is much more than a flawless ninety-carat ruby. As a stone it's worth over a million dollars, a value vastly increased by its pure gold band - but its history is what makes it priceless. A ring that has been fought for with sword and pen and passed from nation to nation by all manner of theft and trickery, has finally made its way to the United States. The US agrees to return it to Turkey, but it's about to be stolen twice more.
"Another delightful mis-adventure."
Art doesn’t mean to tell Liz Kerwin that he has a twin. He’s on Fire Island, and she’s so beautiful that he’s willing to say anything for a chance at getting rid of her clothes. So when Liz mentions an identical twin sister, Art blurts out that he has a twin too. His name is Bart, he says, and describes the most boring man he can dream up. Liz thinks he would be perfect for her sister Betty. When Art meets Betty, she asks about his brother. Hoping for a chance at the family fortune, Art dons a pair of glasses and slicks back his hair....
"Westlake always fun"
It was supposed to be a simple caviar heist. Dortmunder is almost in the building when the alarm sounds, forcing him up the fire escape and onto the roof. He leaps onto the next building, smashing his ankle and landing in the den of the worst kind of creature he can imagine: nuns.
"One of the best in the Dortmunder series."
Listen to mystery stories by today's top writers and the masters who inspired them. The idea for this collection came to Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Lawrence Block when he was asked, "What is your favorite mystery story?" Block compiled this unique collection by posing the same question to some of today's favorite writers of the genre, including Stephen King, Tony Hillerman, and John Lutz.
"Mystery on Bayou Teche"
Cab driver Chet Conway was hoping for a good tip from his latest fare, the sort he could spend. But what he got was a tip on a horse race; which might have turned out okay, except that when he went to collect his winnings, Chet found his bookie lying dead on the living room floor. Chet knows he had nothing to do with it.
"Great reading of a hilarious novel"
Intrepid reporter Sara Joslyn, having escaped the clutches of the supermarket tabloid Weekly Galaxy, is finally going to be allowed to practice "clean journalism." Unfortunately, intrepid editor Jack Ingersoll has other plans, assigning her to a gory sex-murder trial in Branson, Missouri, home to more country stars than there are in the heavens. While delving into the muck, rake in hand, Sara runs into her old comrades from the Galaxy - Binx Radwell, Boy Cartwright, and the Down Under Trio among them. At the eye of this journalistic cyclone is country musician Ray Jones; is he guilty of the grisly murder, and what else is he up to?
"Have heard better"
Arriving home at dawn after another failed burglary, John Dortmunder - the anti-hero of Donald Westlake's popular comic crime series - is shocked to find his apartment occupied by a notorious cellmate everyone had supposed (and hoped) had been jailed for life.
"Good book. Bad, BAD, BAAAD performance"
Al Engel had worked his way up to being Nick Rovito’s right-hand man, near the top of the syndicate. And this was a delicate job that Rovito had given him: retrieving a very important jacket, loaded with heroin, from the fresh grave of the drug mule who was accidentally buried wearing it. There was just one problem (at least - just one to begin with): It turned out the grave was empty. Suddenly Engel was the one finding himself “in deep”.
"Fun Fun Fun"
What, you ask, is a Fred Fitch? Well, for one thing, Fred Fitch is the man with the most extensive collection of fake receipts, phony bills of sale, and counterfeit sweepstakes tickets in the Western hemisphere, and possibly in the entire world. For another thing, Fred Fitch may be the only New York City resident in the twentieth century to buy a money machine.
"American Gods for the Grifter set!"
John Dortmunder and his merry band of crooks return to the scene of the crime world in an attempt to steal a fleet of automobiles that would leave the Sultan of Brunei blushing. The mark is Monroe Hall, corrupt CEO of a now defunct conglomerate, who spent more of his company's money on himself than the boys at Enron and WorldCom combined. Having escaped prosecution, Hall is holed up on his Pennsylvania farm, and Dortmunder, as usual, has his eyes on the big prize: Hall's vintage wheels.
The men in the tan-and-cream Chrysler came with guns blazing. When Ray Kelly woke up in the hospital, it was a month later, he was missing an eye, and his father was dead. Then things started to get bad. From the mind of the incomparable Donald E. Westlake comes a devastating story of betrayal and revenge, an exploration of the limits of family loyalty and how far a man will go when everything he loves is taken from him.
"Nice and hard-boiled."