The Burglar in the Library Themes
by Lawrence Sanders

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The Burglar in the Library Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

A continuing theme in the series is friendship, in particular the unlikely friendship between Bernie Rhodenbarr, the burglar, and Carolyn Kaiser, the lesbian dog groomer. They share time and ideas with each other, and they are considerate of each other's foibles. For example, Carolyn recognizes clues to Bernie's behavior in his drinking habits: if he drinks mineral water in the evening, he is probably working as a burglar that night. She may ask him about his plans but only if they are alone together. They are an integral part of each other's lives. In The Burglar in the Library, they share a bed, and Bernie knows not to tell Carolyn of her behavior when she was dreaming, certainly a vulnerable state. To hold a mirror up to one friend's sexual behavior is not always appreciated.

A usual theme is urbanity, a style of life in the city, a sophistication. Here urbanity is missing except in the major characters, Carolyn and Bernie, who make jokes against pretentiousness. A contrasting style is the niceness of the country house milieu that is too restricted and that is finally false.