A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking and Entering
April 22, 2024

Book Review

A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking and Entering

reviewed by Carolyn Scott


Al (not his real name) calls himself an ‘interloper’ – an uninvited house sitter who breaks into the luxury homes of the rich when they are away for work or on vacation and makes himself at home.

He’s being doing this on his own successfully for eight years and has saved himself a lot of rent while enjoying living at the very best addresses. He considers himself to be a professional and is meticulously careful to follow the list of rules he has made for himself, particularly not drawing attention to himself while staying there and leaving the house exactly as he found it. He has never had a problem – until now.

A miscalculation sends Al fleeing from a house just as he is on the verge of settling in and that’s when his problems begin. At the safety bolt-hole that he runs to, he comes across sisters Em and Elle and computer hacker Jonny already is residence. The three of them also like to stay uninvited in vacant properties and, being curious that their methods are different to his, Al agrees to go along with them to watch them break into their next house. Unfortunately, on their first job together, they find themselves in the middle of a crime scene. They know it’s only a matter of time before the police find them and arrest them so in order to clear their names they decide to investigate the case themselves.

This very original premise for a novel is executed with a light and slightly wry tone, narrated by Al with his quirky sense of humour and the introverted personality of someone who has lived alone too long. Al and his new friends test the bounds of plausibility as they try out their skills as amateur con artists, impersonating all and sundry in crazy scenarios to get the information they need to solve the case. The plot is smart and humorous, although could have benefitted from being more concise and not quite so convoluted, but overall it was very enjoyable and certainly never dull. Recommended for those looking for an entertaining, light and quirky mystery with a cast of engaging characters.

With thanks to Random House via Netgalley for a copy to read.

A Beginner’s Guide to Breaking and Entering is available at:

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