The moment I'd scanned the outside of the building, I turned to Bruno and said, "First impressions, it looks straightforward." Looking back, I can't help but wonder what I was thinking. I mean, put that line at the opening of a crime novel and it's practically a guarantee that everything is about to get complicated.
Charlie Howard—globe-trotting mystery writer, professional thief, and poor decision maker—is in Paris. Flush with the success of his latest book reading, not to mention a few too many glasses of wine, Charlie agrees to show a complete novice how to break into an apartment in the Marais. Fast-forward twenty-four hours and Charlie's hired to steal an ordinary-looking oil painting—from the exact same address.
Mere coincidence? Charlie figures there's no harm in finding out—until a dead body turns up in his living room and he finds himself evading the law while becoming caught up in a quite outrageous heist. And that's before Charlie's literary agent, Victoria (who's naive enough to assume that he looks like his author photo), finally decides they should meet face-to-face.
Nobody ever said a life of suspense was easy, but in Chris Ewan's The Good Thief's Guide to Paris, Charlie, the most disarmingly charming burglar since Cary Grant, soon finds things are getting way out of control.
Charlie Howard, a crime writer who's also an international burglar, once again makes a funny, fast-talking narrator in Ewan's delightful second mystery (after 2007's The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam). Tipsy after a Parisian book signing, Charlie agrees to show a new acquaintance the basics of the trade by breaking into the man's own apartment. Trouble ensues when the apartment actually belongs to someone else. Charlie's fence commissions him the next day to break into the same apartment to steal an apparently worthless painting, and the apartment's real owner turns up dead in Charlie's apartment. Hiding in a Montmartre hotel, Charlie tries to save his skin while also placating his attractive agent, Victoria, who's arrived unannounced only to discover that the client she's grown so close to by phone looks nothing like the author photo he provided. That Charlie pens a memoir titled The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam adds a nice postmodern touch to a classic caper.