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Charlie Howard - mystery writer and professional thief - is flush with the success of his Paris book reading when he agrees to show a novice the basics of the trade by breaking into the man's own apartment. Trouble ensues when it turns out the apartment belongs to someone else. The next day, Charlie's fence hires him to steal an ordinary-looking oil painting - from the same address. Mere coincidence? Charlie reckons there's no harm in finding out - until a dead body turns up in his living room.
Hiding in a Montmartre hotel, Charlie tries to work out how to save his skin, while also placating his agent Victoria, who has arrived unannounced in the mistaken belief that Charlie actually looks like the author photo he provided.
Second in the Good Thief Series (after Amsterdam), THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO PARIS sees the return of Charlie Howard, author and professional thief along with his agent Victoria and fence Pierre. Although in this book Victoria gets to be more than just a voice at the end of the phone.
You're going to get the idea of the plot of this book from the blurb, although what you aren't going to get is an idea of the elaborate twisting and turning, leaping and posturing that goes on to get to the nub of the problem. Although all of that carry on is fairly normal in Charlie's world. These books are an pleasing combination of light-hearted humour, a hefty dose of self-deprecation (including some plot elements where the reader seems nowhere near as confused as Charlie is) carried off with considerable aplomb. To be fair though, there are also a number of positively ridiculous scenarios carried off with more than a bit of ham-fisted reverse explaining.
There is a particularly nice sense of place about these books, and I will confess to a sneaking suspicion about research versus tourism and tax dodges = a book to justify the jaunt, which is part of the fun. You don't want to read these books too seriously and in this one in particular, definitely not for the destination. In fact I suspect that some readers of THE GOOD THIEF'S GUIDE TO PARIS are going to be chewing the edges of the book at some elements of the resolution, even though the journey there was seriously good fun.
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