The Good Thief's Guide to Paris, By Chris Ewan

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The Independent Culture

The second instalment of this comic crime series - the first was set in Amsterdam - finds Charlie Howard, mystery writer- cum -international burglar, holding court in Paris.

Feeling flush afer a successful reading at the Paris Lights bookshop, he agrees to show one of his fans how to break into a smart apartment in the Marais.

Twenty-four hours later and he's hired to steal an ordinary looking oil painting from the same address - a coincidence Howard finds hard to resist. Knowledgeable about Paris and its natives, Ewan populates this lively art-house heist with grumpy concieges and soignée artists.

This kind of continental caper particularly appeals to American readers - though one excursion in the company of Ewan's crime committing hack is probably enough.