Starred PW Review for “The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey”

The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey: A Pot Thief Mystery
J. Michael Orenduff. Open Road, $14.99 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-5040-4993-1

Orenduff successfully combines humor and homicide in his superb eighth Pot Thief whodunit (after 2016’s The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe). Part-time investigator Hubie Schuze, who unapologetically supports himself by illegally digging up ancient Native American pottery and then selling the artifacts at his Albuquerque store, accepts an adjunct teaching position at the University of New Mexico. Hubie was surprised by the offer, given that he had helped put a former head of the university’s art department in prison, but he soon gets invested in trying to connect with device-addicted millennials. Hubie dodges several bullets, including a sexual harassment claim by a student who offered to sleep with him in exchange for a better grade, but he becomes a murder suspect after one of his students, who was covered in a plaster cast for a 3-D model, is found dead inside it. Fans of campus satires will enjoy how Orenduff skewers academic politics and political correctness in the service of a fair-play plot. (May)


I licensed the POT THIEF mysteries to Open Road Media in 2013, when there were six books in the series: The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras, The Pot Thief Who Studied PtolemyThe Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier, The Pot Thief Who Studied EinsteinThe Pot Thief Who Studied Who Studied Billy the Kid, and The Pot Thief Who Studied D.H. Lawrence; in 2017, author J. Michael Orenduff published a seventh, The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe. Now, with the latest entry, The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey, Orenduff’s up to eight titles featuring Albuquerque antiquities dealer Hubie Schuze. If you enjoy light-hearted whodunits with loads of witty repartee among recurring characters, and colorful information on New Mexico’s culinary delights, I recommend the series to you, with the titles available in paperback and in digital editions. Ebook retailer Early Bird Books will be running a special deal for the books on April 23, if you want to buy them then. You can also order them directly from Open Road.

We also got this endorsement for the new book: “The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey is superb, a funny, totally puzzling mystery studded with the kind of delectable arcane knowledge Orenduff always brings to this series. I’ve loved every one of the POT THIEF books and this is the best yet.”—Tim Hallinan, author of Fields Where They Lay, a Junior Bender mystery


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  1. […] atmosphere and culinary culture of the Southwest: there are eight books in the series. The latest, The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey, which Publishers Weekly gave a starred review, will be out in […]

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