Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Revisiting Amsterdam with a twist

The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam
by Chris Ewan

First sentences:
“I want you to steal something for me.”

Charlie Howard travels the globe writing suspense novels for a living, about an intrepid burglar named Faulks.To supplement his income---and to keep his hand in---Charlie also has a small side business: stealing for a very discreet clientele on commission.

When a mysterious American offers to pay Charlie 20,000 euros if he steals two small monkey figurines to match the one he already has, Charlie is suspicious; he doesn't know how the American found him, and the job seems too good to be true. And, of course, it is. Although the burglary goes off without a hitch, when he goes to deliver the monkeys he finds that the American has been beaten to near-death, and that the third figurine is missing.

Back in London, his long-suffering literary agent, Victoria (who is naive enough to believe he actually looks like his jacket photo), tries to talk him through the plot problems in both his latest manuscript and his real life---but Charlie soon finds himself caught up in a caper reminiscent of a Cary Grant movie, involving safe-deposit boxes, menacing characters, and, of course, a beautiful damsel in distress.
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
If you haven’t already guessed by now I am a huge fan of mystery novels as long as they are not too thrilling. I like cozy mysteries and really well constructed but not hardcore murder mysteries.

Many years ago I bought my mum The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris for her birthday, not aware at that time that it was the second in a series. I just thought the concept was really unique and the title alone made me want to buy it. Some months ago she finally read it (Yes, there is a book buying problem running in the family. It seems to be genetic.) and loved it. So she went ahead and bought book one and started it immediately.

While we were in Amsterdam in May she often mentioned that book and how well the city is portrayed in it. More than once I had to tell her that I wanted to read it myself and beg her not to tell me more about the plot. So after returning I started reading The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam and had to agree with my mum. It not only portrays Amsterdam really well, it is also hilarious and a really unique concept.

A mystery writer who is a part-time thief – that sounded intriguing. While Charlie is trying to figure out where the book he is currently writing went wrong he gets an offer to steal something from two separate apartments and deliver the stolen good to a stranger the night her receives the offer. This is usually not Charlie’s way of doing that so he declines the offer but curiosity gets the better of him so he decides to snoop around for a bit and see if the objects are still at the apartments, for him to take.

Immediately he finds himself in the middle of intrigues and murder and tries really hard to stay alive and as anonymous as possible.

The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam is a brilliantly written murder mystery with some really unexpected plot twists, great characters and Charlie is a wonderful main character. Yes, he’s a thief and a con-man but you cannot help but like him a lot.

I cannot wait to solve a new mystery with him in Paris.

The books in the Good Thief’s Guide series are:
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Paris
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Vegas
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice
  • The Good Thief’s Guide to Berlin

For more information about Chris Ewan visit his Homepage, Facebook or Twitter page.


  1. You just had to go and mention Venice, did you? Hm? Could not leave out VENICE?? No? Waaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! I have enough unread books! I do not need another series to get into. Sob ....

    1. But this is a really good one. Really good. I know you would like it a lot. So yes, I had to mention it :) Buzzwords are the best :)