Riffle Backstory: Q&A with Lawrence Block, author of The Burglar Who Counted The Spoons


After nearly a decade, author Lawrence Block returns to crime fiction with one of his most beloved characters: thief Bernie Rhodenbarr. This NYC-based thief can't get enough of the thrill of the chase, while managing his bookstore as his "day job". Find out all the details on the new Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery, The Burglar Who Counted The Spoons in this Riffle Backstory.

1. What books are on your nightstand?

Well, let’s see. Two crossword puzzle collections, one of New York Times Sunday crosswords, the other of New York Times Double-Crostics. I work a puzzle when I go to bed, and when I start yawning I turn out the light, and that’s that. And then there’s a stack of John O’Hara short story collections. I’m hoping to put together an anthology of his crime stories, and am keeping the books close at hand for that purpose.

Finally, there’s my iPhone with its Kindle app. That, remarkably enough, is where most of my reading gets done these days.

2. What's the best book you've read this year?

I’ve no idea. “Best?” Not for me to say. I did reread John Sandford’s entire Lucas Davenport series this past year. I guess I must have liked them...

3. Who are your favorite literary detectives?

Nero Wolfe, Jane Marple. On TV, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Joan Watson, in today’s New York City, as reimagined in Elementary.

4. You're returning to the Bernie Rhodenbarr series after a hiatus. What can readers expect from the new book?

From what I’ve been reading and hearing, it’s the best book in the series. But I can’t tell, and it’s not for me to say anyway.

Readers can expect much that they’ve met with before: lively conversations between Bernie and Carolyn, often over lunch from Two Guys; charming women popping into Bernie’s life—and, alas, popping out every bit as quickly. There's a good deal of breaking and entering, undeniably felonious but all in the service of a Higher Good. And, while they’re being entertained beyond measure, readers will learn a good deal about American Colonial silver, F. Scott Fitzgerald, political campaign memorabilia, the scarcest signatory of the Great Declaration, and a couple of guys named Myer Myers and Rota Rota.

Plus there’s a girl with a gecko tattoo.

5. If you could meet any author in history, dead or alive, who would that be and what would you want to know?

Shakespeare. I’d like to ask him if it’s true that he actually wrote all the plays of Neil Simon.

  • The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons (Bernie Rhodenbarr)

  • The Burglar on the Prowl (Block, Lawrence)

  • Burglars Can't Be Choosers (Bernie Rhodenbarr)