It started with a ring. A cheap ring. The yellow metal said brass, not gold, and the sparkly bits were certainly not diamonds. But the ring belonged to May's horse-playing uncle, who swore it brought good luck. Dortmunder, who wouldn't kick a little good luck out of bed, puts it to the test when he goes to burglarize Long Island billionaire Max Fairbanks. As luck would have it, Dortmunder is greeted by Fairbanks himself--and a loaded gun--as soon as he strolls through the door. When the cops arrive, the mogul adds insult to injury by claiming that Dortmunder's lucky ring is actually his. Big mistake, big guy. As soon as Dortmunder can give the cops the slip, the world's most single-minded burglar goes after the fat cat with a vengeance and a team of crooks that only he can assemble. And from the get-go everything will go Dortmunder's way--everything that is, except the ring. Plowing through Fairbanks's many residences, from New York's Great White Way to Washington's Watergate Hotel, Dortmunderand his gang rob the unlucky billionaire blind, all in search of one ridiculous ring.
John Dortmunder, the taciturn con man who is the hero of Westlake's funniest series of caper novels, is someone perfectly capable of nursing a grievance. When billionaire hotshot Max Fairbanks, who has caught Dortmunder burgling his Long Island estate, tells the arresting police that the good-luck ring on Dortmunder's finger was stolen from him (when it was in fact a gift from Dortmunder's girlfriend, May), Max's fate, no matter how well protected he may be, is sealed. Dortmunder makes repeated attempts to get his ring back, hitting on ingenious ways to get into the billionaire's lavish Times Square and Watergate apartments, making off each time with considerable loot. But only when Fairbanks goes off to his huge casino/hotel/theme park in Las Vegas, in a deliberate attempt to entrap Dortmunder, does the dour vengeance-seeker shift into really high gear. Picturesque rogues from previous Dortmunder outings are collected into a formidable army, pitted against the best security Max's millions can buy, all leading to a showdown only Westlake could have conceived. As can be expected from this expert hand, the narrative is at once laconic and fast, the jokes constant, fresh and funny. Dortmunder, as always, is a potent brew that makes the world look brighter. Mystery Guild featured alternate. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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October 01, 1996
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