Donald E. Westlake is in fine form in the sixth Dortmunder mystery novel Good Behavior. Know their comic tone, these novels about a heist mastermind whose plans always go awry and are great fun. Good Behavior is especially good what with Dortmunder having to kidnap a nun who took a vow of silence.

Dortmunder is leaving a heist when the cops start going after him. While escaping he falls through a roof of the Convent of St. Filumena. St. Filumena is an order where the nuns took a vow of silence except for two hours every Thursday.

The nuns discover what Dortmunder does for a living and enlist his help. One of their members, Sister Mary Grace, has been kidnapped by her billionaire father and is being held in his office tower while a deprogrammer tries to make her come to her senses.

If Dortmunder agrees to free Sister Mary Grace, the nuns will not call the cops on him.

Dortmunder scopes out the office tower and comes up with a plan involving an ambitious heist as a bonus to freeing the captive nun. Nothing goes as planned, of course.

Donald E. Westlake has a lot of fun in Good Behavior. The names of the nuns are funny: Sister Mary Capable and Sister Mary Forcible for example. Westlake brings up some of Dormunder’s past when he was schooled by the nuns of the Bleeding Heart Sisters of Misery. In addition, one of Dortmunder’s accomplices is a con who has not seen a woman in forty-eight years and has a few problems with dealing with women of any kind.

Good Behavior is a very funny and enjoyable Dortmunder mystery. It makes for a great, relaxing read.

Good Behavior
A Dortmunder mystery
Donald E. Westlake
Originally published 1985
Mysterious Press 2011

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