cover image Brothers Keepers

Brothers Keepers

Donald E. Westlake. Hard Case Crime, $9.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-78565-715-3

In this fast and easy comedy of errors first published in 1975 from MWA Grand Master Westlake (1933–2008), real estate developers cast avaricious eyes on the Manhattan monastery of the Crispinite Order of the Novum Mundum. Brother Benedict and the 15 other monks in the mendicant order scramble to save their home. They can’t compete on the financial front. They can barely negotiate their way out of the neighborhood. Too many pages may be expended lovingly detailing street and train routes when the robed heroes go out to confront the developers, but one of their excursions introduces Benedict to Eileen Flattery, the daughter of the man who holds the deed to the property. Pursuit of Eileen eventually takes Benedict all the way to Puerto Rico. If this isn’t a typical Westlake heist caper, the action does feature frantic searches for 100-year-old lease agreements, bugging devices, and a touch of burglary and arson. And what reader can resist the punning reference to “felonious monks”? Even a minor work such as this one from this gifted writer is an unalloyed pleasure. (Feb.)