Thursday, May 16, 2013

NOBODY'S PERFECT by Donald E,. Westlake

Donald E. Westlake’s Nobody’s Perfect (1978) is a classic Dortmunder novel.

A spendthrift millionaire hires Dortmunder to steal a valuable painting. The man hopes to claim the insurance money and then get the painting back.

To assure that Dortmunder keeps his part of the bargain, the man also hires a stone-cold killer. If Dortmunder tries to take the rich man’s money and then steals the painting for himself, Dortmunder is toast.

Along the way, the police catch Dortmunder breaking into a TV and appliance store. His crew ends up in a riot of Scottish men in kilts. Dortnunder finds himself trapped in an elevator shaft.

Different people steal the painting back and forth at least four times, maybe more. I could well have lost track.

And even more occurs.

I can’t summarize the plot without ruining it for you. Suffice it to say that Nobody’s Perfect is one of the most complex Dortmunder novels I’ve ever read.

I have one more comment.

I write mystery novels, not professionally but as a hobby just to keep my mind alert. Westlake’s descriptions, both of settings and of nefarious schemes, are unsurpassed. Anyone who has ever tried to write a caper novel would surely see Donald E. Westlake as a master of the craft.


George said...

This is one of my favorite Westlake novels. Classic!

Joe Barone said...

I've only read a few of the Dortmunder novels. Surely this has to be one of the best.