cover image Lieberman's Thief

Lieberman's Thief

Stuart M. Kaminsky, John Lutz. Henry Holt & Company, $22.5 (238pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-2576-7

The fourth in Kaminsky's Chicago mystery series starring put-upon detective Abe Lieberman begins with a career burglar stealing into a home only to witness the man of the house murdering his wife. George Patnicks, the small-time thief--who's also a good painter--goes into hiding from both the homeowner and the cops. While working on the case, Lieberman contends with his off-the-charts cholesterol count and his partner's romancing of a Chinese woman whose powerful benefactor takes a dim view of a recovering-drunk Irish cop's pursuit of his beloved charge. ``The Jewish policeman who looked like an old, tired dog'' (as he appears to the sister of another thief) also faces his daughter's failing marriage, the rabbi who wants to buy the Lieberman house and the wily band of old-timers at the local deli, who crack wise and, as usual, threaten to steal the detective's thunder. Kaminsky keeps all these balls in the air, expertly juggling the moods of his prose: comic, scary, murderous. If only Lieberman could work the same magic with his diet. (Apr.)