By Donald E. Westlake
In his vintage caper novels, Donald E. Westlake turns the area of crime and criminals the wrong way up. The undesirable get well, the great slide a piece, and Lord support a person stuck among a thief named John Dortmunder and the present item of his intentions. Now Westlake's pro yet usually scoreless criminal needs to tackle an very unlikely crime, one he does not wish and does not think in. yet a bit blackmail is going some distance in... what is SO FUNNY?
All it takes is some underhanded strikes via a difficult ex-cop named Eppick to tug Dortmunder right into a video game he by no means desired to play. with out selection, he musters his always-game gang and so they set out on a dangerous treasure hunt for a long-lost gold and jewel-studded chess set as soon as meant as a birthday reward for the final Romanov czar, which regrettably reached Russia after that occasion used to be over.
From the instant Dortmunder reaches for his first pawn, he faces insurmountable odds. The purloined prior of this priceless set is destined to confound any method he unearths at the board. luck isn't inevitable with John Dortmunder major the assault, yet he is not anything if now not chronic, and a few gambit or different could simply stumble right into a successful stream.
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The purpose is,” Eppick informed him, “Mr. Hemlow isn’t used to being round roughnecks. He didn’t understand how he was once gonna take to you, so that’s why the 1st assembly used to be at my position. We knew we’d need to sign in with you back once you observed the granddaughter, yet Mr. Hemlow determined you have been ok, or ok adequate, and it isn’t effortless for him to get round city, so this time we’re going to his position. ” “I wager I’m honored,” Dortmunder acknowledged. “You’ll be honored,” Eppick instructed him, “when Mr. Hemlow’s received the chess set. ” It used to be a slender stone development, ten tales excessive, midblock, taller wider constructions on either side. The home windows have been all very complex, which made feel, simply because they confronted a tree-dotted park sloping down towards the Hudson, with the West part street and its site visitors a sketched-in border among grass and water and New Jersey around the manner having a look strong at this distance. Eppick paid they usually obtained out of the cab and went up the 2 vast stone steps to the place a gloomy green–uniformed doorman held the large brass-fitted door open for them and acknowledged, “Yes, gents? ” “Mr. Hemlow. I’m Mr. Eppick. ” “Yes, sir. ” The foyer was once small and darkish and seemed like a carpet salesroom in a mausoleum. Dortmunder and Eppick waited whereas the doorman made his name, then acknowledged, “You may fit up. ” “Thanks. ” The elevator had an operator, in a uniform from an identical military because the doorman, even though Dortmunder spotted there weren’t any operator sort controls, simply an identical buttons that during different elevators the buyer has to determine the way to push all by means of himself. yet the following the operator did it, and by means of looming over the panel in a truly stiff demeanour he made convinced not anyone else obtained with reference to the buttons. “Floor, sir? ” “Mr. Hemlow, penthouse. ” “Sir. ” The operator driven P and up they went, and on the best the operator held Door Open whereas they exited, so he used to be both being very conscientious or he hoped nobody’d become aware of he wasn’t truly required. it appears Mr. Hemlow had the complete best flooring, as the elevator opened onto his front room, a vast muted area with a wall of enormous out of date home windows overlooking the river yet too excessive as much as express the park or the road. Mr. Hemlow himself waited for them in his wheelchair, and acknowledged, “Well, Johnny, from the smile in your face, issues are going good. ” “Oh, they're, Mr. Hemlow,” Eppick guaranteed him. “But commonly I’m smiling simply because I simply love this room. at any time when I see it. ” “My overdue spouse thank you you,” Mr. Hemlow stated, a bit grimly. “It’s all her flavor. Come alongside and take a seat. ” And his motorized wheelchair spun round in position and took off at a solid clip, which was once most likely why he didn’t have any rugs at the great hardwood ground. Dortmunder and Eppick him over towards the view, the place Mr. Hemlow did his spin-around factor back and gestured to them to take a couple of straightforward chairs with an ornate old desk among them and an exceptional view of the view. in spite of the fact that, he then rolled himself into the center of the view and acknowledged, “So inform me the place we stand.