Reviewing Chris Ewan's the Good Thief's Guide to Paris on this blog led me to another thief/detective combo, Lawrence Block's Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery series. In the Burglar in the Rye, Bernie tracks down the letters of a reclusive author (who drinks rye whiskey, hence the title) and aside from learning the charms of rye whiskey, Bernie encounters a colorful cast of characters who live at the Paddington Hotel -including another thief who complicates the job considerably. The plot comes together in the end as Bernie explains it all in a classic "this is how it was done" drawing room scene.
I tried a Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery a while ago and didn't finish it, but I liked this one very much. Which just shows that sometimes it pays to try several books in a series or by a popular author before you decide if his writing suits your reading style. For fans of light mysteries with snappy dialogue and oddball characters.