BOOK REVIEW: WHAT'S SO FUNNY
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BY DONALD E. WESTLAKE
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Former cop turned private investigator Johnny Eppick has evidence that could lead to the arrest of robber John Dortmunder. However, instead of turning it in to his former peers, the sleuth blackmails Dortmunder into doing a simple job for him. He is to steal a chess set once owned by a long dead Czar that Eppick’s client believes belongs to him.
The chess set is inside a secure Manhattan subterranean vault under a bank that has lawyers' offices above it. In the attorneys’ offices the Northwood family argues vehemently over who rightfully not necessarily legally owns the chess set although the claims of ownership ties to the looter who took it from Russia and not to the Czar. Dortmunder realizes he has limited access to the bank or office spaces above and that the vault has more security guards than the Green Zone contains. Thus if he can’t go to the mountain he must find a way to move the mountain to give him easier access.
Proving that a baker’s dozen retains a humorous freshness, the latest Dortmunder crime caper is a delightful amusing tale with a cast of a zillion seemingly playing chess with one another on the same board. Readers will wonder how Dortmunder will pull off the theft as he spends much of the first half of the droll story line feeling checked with every move he makes. Fans of the series will appreciate his escapades as he struggles to checkmate a horde of adversaries including the sleuth blackmailing him.
REVIEWED BY HARRIET KLAUSNER
DO NOT REPRINT
WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE REVIEWER, HARRIET KLAUSNER
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