Winner of the Long Barn Books First Novel Award.
Chosen as one of Booklist’s Top 10 Crime Fiction Audiobooks of 2012.
Shortlisted for the CrimeFest Last Laugh Award 2007
“The detection is first-rate, and Howard is a fresh, irreverent creation who will make readers eager for his next exploit.” Starred Review US Publishers Weekly
Charlie Howard doesn’t just write books about a career thief, he also happens to be one.
In Amsterdam working on his latest book, Charlie is approached by a mysterious American who asks him to steal two apparently worthless monkey figurines from two separate addresses on the same night. At first he says no. Then he changes his mind. Only later, kidnapped and bound to a chair, the American very dead and a spell in police custody behind him, does Charlie begin to realise how costly a mistake he might have made.
The police think he killed the American. Others think he knows the whereabouts of the elusive third monkey. But for Charlie only three things matter: Can he clear his name? Can he get away with the haul of a lifetime? And can he solve the gaping plot-hole in his latest novel?
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Praise for The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam
Stylish and assured …. Like Highsmith’s Ripley, Charlie Howard is a character you’ll definitely want to see more of. Allan Guthrie
Starred Review. This impressive debut, a comic whodunit from British entertainment lawyer Ewan, owes much of its charm and success to its compelling antihero, Charles Howard. … The ease with which Ewan creates a memorable protagonist and pits him against a plausible and tricky killer will be the envy of many more established authors. The detection is first-rate, and Howard is a fresh, irreverent creation who will make readers eager for his next exploit. US Publishers Weekly
This is, in many ways, crime writing at its best. While the brutality of Ellroy or Jake Arnott has its attractions, many readers will prefer Ewan’s reprise of the essential elements of classic detective fiction – a likeable hero in a tangled web. The Good Thief’s Guide To Amsterdam shows him hitting the mark first time, with the promise of more good stuff to come. Sydney Morning Herald
[Ewan’s] droll, funny, noirish style, cleverly drawn central character, and great descriptions of locale will make this a popular new series. Library Journal
[An] enjoyable plot and engaging characters … A good first novel with lots of potential as a series. Booklist
[Ewan’s] alternative hero is an engaging hack novelist called Charlie Howard … With a bit of tweaking Howard has the potential to be an amoral Simon Templar. The Times
Charlie Howard is clever, charming and audacious, making it very easy to like and sympathize with a thief-protagonist. A framed first edition cover of The Maltese Falcon that hangs on his wall is a hint (in case it’s needed) that Dashiell Hammett’s classic mystery was the inspiration for the book’s plot. Observant readers will have great fun spotting the many parallels between the two stories and will appreciate the other broad nods to classic mysteries. All in all, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam is a thoroughly enjoyable first novel. I look forward to more of Charlie’s adventures as he indulges his penchants for travel and burglary. Mystery Scene Magazine
There are some other clever conceits in this slickly plotted little yarn … Although there’s no telling where Ewan may send his likable hero next, read the book and see if you don’t agree that, wherever it is, it must be soon. The News & Observer
A fun-filled mystery that will appeal to fans of good, old-fashioned crime capers. Written with flair by debut British novelist Chris Ewan, The Good Thief’s Guide to Amsterdam is fresh, funny, and cleverly done. … one of this year’s very best mysteries. Bookloons.com
Ewan’s pacing in this story is spot on, doling out the information in just the right quantities to keep his readers zinging along with the story, anxious to learn just why those silly figurines are so important. His intertwining story of a writer’s frustration in ending a mystery successfully is charming as well… With such wonderful writing, readers are sure to be hopeful that Ewan decides to take on other cities, other mysteries. reviewingtheevidence.com
Charlie is agreeable company, producing that stream of witty patter that seems quintessentially British as he narrates his own skilled thievery and flights of quick thought, often in the company of a plummy-voiced embassy lawyer… seeing the pieces fly together at the end without a single missing bit is pretty fun. The Houston Chronicle
A debut crime novel – with a twist. Clever, funny and good scene-setting make this one to watch. Publishing News
The Good Thief’s Guide To Amsterdam is an intelligent crime novel with a fantastic premise – the hero is a crime writer who moonlights as a burglar… It is a clever approach and adds a more literary dimension to what is already a cracking plot. I suspect that crime fans will love it and many readers of more general fiction will fall for its charms. Me and My Big Mouth
Here we have another crime fiction début that deserves to be welcomed with open arms… It’s a début not to be missed and the beauty of it is that it’s the start of a series. More Charlie to come; more intriguing stories and more locations. Wonderful! itsacrime.typepad.com
This is a fun play on the traditional who-done-it and is a bit reminiscent of Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief. Ewan’s debut was the second annual winner of the Long Barn Books First Novel Contest. Long Barn is a small British house that publishes one novel each year. It’s easy to see why this appealing novel was their winning choice. BookBitch.com
This book has success written all over it. Witty, amusing, exciting and written with a sardonic humour. Random Jottings of a Book Lover
Chris Ewan has created a wonderfully entertaining character in Charlie Howard. He has an English wit and good manners for someone who breaks into houses for a living…. I’d whole heartedly recommend this book for anyone who loves detective stories with a definite English twist and for anyone who loves a great read I’d say you should buy this too. GavsStudio.co.uk