“The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke” features Bernie Rhodenbarr, the lighthearted and lightfingered hero of ten mystery novels. When Bernie's not burgling he's running a secondhand bookstore, so there's a bibiophilic element to the story as well, and the body is found in perhaps the ultimate dream library.
You’ll note that this story bears a joint byline. Lynne Wood Block, my frequent companion, came up with the basic idea and did the requisite research. Then I sat down and wrote the story, which was the easy part.
It was published as a special insert in Mary Higgins Clark’s mystery magazine and in an anthology of similar husband/wife collaborations, and has been chosen for locked-room anthologies. I included it in my omnibus collection of short fiction, Enough Rope, so if you already own that book, or want to acquire it in eBook form, you may not need to snap up this present offering.
I suppose it’s inevitable that a burglar should star in a classic locked-room mystery story. Bernie’s in another as well, “The Burglar Who Dropped In On Elvis.”