Chris Ewan

The Good Thief’s Guide To Berlin

"...enough twists to satisfy even the most ardent Chubby Checker fan..."


You can't keep a good thief down. Charlie Howard – mystery writer and professional burglar-for-hire – is back in the saddle, robbing the people of Berlin blind. But his larcenous binge is about to be interrupted by a call to duty – on behalf of Her Majesty's Government.

A sensitive item has been stolen from inside the British embassy in Berlin. Four employees are suspected of the theft and Charlie is hired to discreetly break into each of their homes, identify the guilty culprit and steal the item back. There's just one problem: the item is so sensitive that Charlie can't be told what it is. But how do you find something when you don't know what you're searching for? And what do you do if you witness a murder during your first break in?

In this fast-paced and charming mystery, Charlie must evade a hornet's nest of foreign spies to retrieve the mystery item, catch a killer, and finally confront how he really feels about his best friend and confidante, Victoria.

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Since first encountering Charlie Howard I have been a firm fan of the 'The Good Thief's Guide' series. Each is written with dry sparse prose which crackles like a camp fire. 'TGTGT Berlin' carries on the tradition while lifting the series to another level. Charlie's witty asides and wisecracks are sharper than ever, Victoria's management of him is stronger and the plot is more involved and better thought out. Charlie Howard is a modern day Raffles and while he is an incorrigible thief he is otherwise decent. Victoria is both his foil and a love interest although his love may well be unrequited. Other characters such as Buster, Gert and Freddy Farmer add to the drama as required with Buster especially being a real scene stealer. The nefarious Russians are also expertly drawn but for me the standout character was Berlin itself. What Ewan has done with the setting is nothing short of brilliant as he breathes life into the German capital and gives it a central role. The ingenious idea of setting a thief to catch a thief is heightened by the drama of not knowing the identity of the desired plunder. When all is revealed after enough twists to satisfy even the most ardent Chubby Checker fan, I was left amazed at Ewan's plotting skills.

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