What's so Funny?

What's so Funny?
Pub date 26th April 2007
Original publisher Warner
Publisher (UK) Quercus
International publishers Editions Payot et Rivages (France)


Donald Westlake turns the world of crime and criminals upside down and has the last laugh in comic caper novel What's So Funny. His perennially depressed master thief, John Dortmunder, finds himself involved an impossible crime, one he doesn't want and doesn't believe in and which he'd rather avoid if possible…but a little blackmail goes a long way. All it takes is a few underhanded moves by a tough ex-cop named Eppick to pull Dortmunder into a game he never wanted to play. With no choice, he musters his always-game gang and they set out on a perilous treasure hunt for a long-lost gold and jewel-studded chess set once intended as a birthday gift for the last Romanov czar. Unfortunately for everyone, then and now, he became the last Romanov czar without making it to his own birthday party. From the moment Dortmunder reaches for his first pawn, he faces insurmountable odds…


Praise for What's So Funny?

“As usual, Westlake provides amusing, at times dim-witted dialogue, particularly among the regulars at O.J.'s Bar & Grill on Amsterdam Avenue, and a cast of appealing if often inept cops and robbers. Not every loose end may be tied up, but the ironic resolution will leave both series fans and newcomers satisfied.”

- Publisher’s Weekly


“Fans of the fatalistic crook will be happy to see Dortmunder's quirky crew back again and will revel in their pre-Copernican view of a Manhattan-based solar system. Readers new to the Dortmunder series will simply laugh, then head to the library for more. Westlake is a national literary treasure, and his latest effort only enhances his value. Neocon pundit William Kristol recently wrote that Westlake deserves the Nobel Prize for Literature. The neocons haven't been right about much lately, but Kristol just may be on to something this time.”

- Thomas Gaughan, Booklist


“The 13th workout for the funny bone featuring John Dortmunder, his inept crew and a massively over-attended burglary… More characters than at Agincourt, each with a wicked way with a punch line, and a plot twist that lands this firmly in Westlake’s own screwball territory.”

- Kirkus


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