Friday, January 02, 2009

"Give Till It Hurts" by Donald E. Westlake

Available in Thieves Dozen by Donald E. Westlake. Mysterious Press, 2005.

Discovered trying to pass himself off as a rich Arab at a coin collectors' convention in Manhattan, John Dortmunder narrowly escapes through a linen closet window and stumbles into a poker game at Otto Penzler's Mysterious Bookshop.

Dortmunder is $240 ahead when the police come calling, investigating the burglary he's just committed. To Dortmunder's surprise, Penzler and friends don't hand him to the cops. Then he realizes they want to win their money back.

Penzler first published this story in 1993 as a Christmas present to the Mysterious Bookshop's mail-order customers. In memory of Westlake, who died on New Year's Eve at age 75, I hope our reviews give readers some idea of his talent and personality.

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