The first Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery. Introducing Bernie Rhodenbarr, N.Y.C.'s prince of thieves – who really should have known better! When the mysterious pear shaped man with a lot of uncomfortably accurate information about Bernie and his career offered him five big ones to liberate a blue leather box – unopened – from an East Side apartment, it would have been a good time to plead a previous engagement…but times were tough. Everything was straightforward – the box was where it should have been but before the liberation took place, two men in blue coats turned up. Still all was not lost, there was always a way to work things out…that was before they discovered the body in the bedroom and Bernie decided to leg it.