Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras

After reading The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras by J. Michael Orenduff, I cannot make up my mind about how I feel towards Hubert Schuze. On one hand, his intrepid use of geometry to remove a pot from a museum makes good use of math, but on the other hand, he did steal the pot.

When an unsavory character asks Hubert to steal a 1000-year-old Mogollon pot from a museum in Albuquerque, Hubie knows if he steals it he will have crossed the line. He seems okay with digging up pots from public land, but he draws a fine line between stealing from museums and his exploits. 

Returning from his reconnaissance mission to the museum, he discovers a Bureau of Land Management agent in his shop. Guvelly, the agent accuses him of stealing a Mogollon pot, but Hubie knows he was only looking at it in the museum. After some confusion, the agent explains it is a Mogollon water jug from Bandelier National Monument. Not guilty, Hubie says as the agent leaves and gives him a card with his hotel room number on it.

When the agent turns up dead the next day, Hubie is worried he will be a suspect, particularly
because of his interest in the other pot. Worried now that the man who offered him the money to steal the pot might be an informer, Hubie decides to investigate on his own. When he sees a living agent Guvelly walking in town, Hubie is stumped and especially worried. 

Hubie is surrounded by some quirky characters including Miss Gladys Claiborne, who provides him with her homemade concoctions of almost inedible meals, his drinking buddy Susannah, Emilio Sanchez and his wife Consuela who helped raise Hubie as a child and his nephew Tristan, a computer genius. The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras is an entertaining book and Hubie is, at times, a more sympathetic character with an odd set of principles.

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