Reviews of The Good Thief's Guide to Amsterdam

Starred Review, US Publishers Weekly

“This impressive debut, a comic whodunit … 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.”

Sydney Morning Herald

“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.”


“[An] enjoyable plot and engaging characters … A good first novel with lots of potential as a series.”

The Times

“[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.”

Mystery Scene Magazine

“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.”

The News & Observer

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

The Houston Chronicle

“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.”

Publishing News

“A debut crime novel – with a twist. Clever, funny and good scene-setting make this one to watch.”

Allan Guthrie

“Stylish and assured …. Like Highsmith’s Ripley, Charlie Howard is a character you’ll definitely want to see more of.”