Book Review: The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam by Chris Ewan
July 9, 2011 9 Comments
The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam: What it is about
Charlie Howard is a writer from the UK who is working on his latest novel in Amsterdam. Not only is he a writer, to supplement his income he is also a thief.
One day, an American man approaches him and asks him to steal two figurines, which are kept in two separate places in Amsterdam. Charlie says no. But as he would be getting 10,000 euros for the job, he decides at the last minute to go for it.
The thefts are not too difficult, but while he is at the second place, another thief comes in to look for the figurine (Charlie manages to hide away). Later, he finds out that the American man is murdered.
He tries to find out what is going on: why did the American want these worthless figurines and why was he murdered?
In the end, in true Agatha Christie style, Charlie gets everyone that is linked to the case together in a room and starts analysing the events and eventually announcing the story behind the figurines as well as the implicated people in the case.
The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam: What I thought
I really liked the cover and I always claim to know by the cover whether I’ll like the book or not.
In this case, I think the cover made this book look too literary. Is it just me? In effect, it wasn’t very literary at all. Not that that is a prerequisite for me liking a book, but I could be as bold as to suggest it’s not far off the other end of the spectrum.
No, the writing wasn’t bad, but the way the story was told (not much was left to the imagination) reminded me of detective novels that my uncle read in the 1970s. They would be large size, floppy, and made of paper only slightly thicker than newspaper. Do you know the kind? It was more or less the Harlequin of the mystery writing.
I feel awful writing the above, but the book had that feel to me.
Although there were some interesting plot twists to the story, I didn’t like the convoluted story that Charlie presented at the end, in a room full of people that were linked to the case in some way. There was no way I could have worked it out by myself. In fact, although Charlie was the protagonist the reader is following through the whole book, I wasn’t given all the information that Charlie had, and I didn’t like that.
For me, this was a disappointment, but still an entertaining read. It didn’t live up to my expectations but would make a good light read on holiday or if you’re sick at home for a day and don’t want anything too taxing.
I got this book: from the library
I read this in: English, the original language
Number of pages: 238
First published: 2007