A Gentleman and a Thief: The Daring Jewel Heists of a Jazz Age Rogue (Hardcover)

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in this captivating Jazz Age true crime about "the greatest jewel thief who ever lived" (Life Magazine), Arthur Barry, who charmed celebrities and millionaires while simultaneously planning and executing the most audacious and lucrative heists of the 1920s. 
A skilled con artist and one of the most successful burglars in history, Arthur Barry was adept at slipping in and out of bedrooms undetected, even when his victims slept only inches away. He became a folk hero, a gentleman bandit touted in the press as the “Prince of Thieves” and an “Aristocrat of Crime.” Think Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief. In a span of seven years, Barry stole pearls, diamonds, and other precious gems worth almost $60 million today. Among his many victims were a Rockefeller, an heiress to the Woolworth Department Store fortune, an oil magnate, Wall Street bigwigs, a top executive of automotive giant General Motors, and a famous polo player. He befriended the Prince of Wales, Harry Houdini, and other luminaries. The rollicking, caper-filled rise and dramatic downfall of this master thief is a high-speed ride told in stylish prose.

A Gentleman and a Thief is also a love story. Barry confessed to dozens of burglaries to protect his wife, Anna Blake (and was the prime suspect in scores of others on Long Island and across Westchester County). Sentenced to a twenty-five-year term, he staged a dramatic prison break—triggering a bloody inmates' riot—when Anna became seriously ill, so they could be together for a few more years as fugitives. Page-turning, escapist, and sparkling with insight into the allure of gemstones and our fascination with well-planned heists and the suave, clever criminals who pull them off, A Gentleman and a Thief is perfect for true crime fans who relish the exploits of con artists and high-class crooks.

About the Author

Dean Jobb is the author of The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream, winner of the inaugural CrimeCon CLUE Award for true crime book of the year and longlisted for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. His previous books include Empire of Deception, which the New York Times Book Review called “intoxicating and impressively researched” and the Chicago Writers Association named the Nonfiction Book of the Year. Esquire magazine has hailed him as “a master of narrative nonfiction.” Jobb has written for major newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune and Toronto’s Globe and Mail and his monthly true crime column, “Stranger Than Fiction,” appears in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He is a professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program.

Praise For…

“Dean Jobb has long been a master of narrative nonfiction, rummaging through the past to uncover lost gems of history. And in this mesmerizing tale about a Jazz Age gentlemanly thief, Jobb has found his own perfect jewel.”
 —David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wager and Killers of the Flower Moon

“An enthrallingly propulsive, unpredictably twisty biography of one of the most fascinating criminals of the 20th Century. Dean Jobb’s immersive writing and in-depth research brings this startling true story to life. I was hooked from the very first heist.”
 —Michael Finkel, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Thief and The Stranger in the Woods

"A dazzling triumph of narrative nonfiction. Dean Jobb writes as nimbly as his 'gentleman thief' moves through the darkened homes of his wealthy targets – and delivers a roaring tour of 1920s high society."—Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of Lost in Shangri-La and Ponzi’s Scheme

“This captivating tale will charm its way into your affections like the charismatic rogue at its heart. A Gentleman and a Thief is the glittering jewel of its genre. Once more, Dean Jobb proves he’s a master storyteller.” —Lindsey Fitzharris, New York Times bestselling author of The Facemaker

“Dean Jobb has unearthed a long-forgotten anti-hero from the annals of true crime and spun a tale so deliciously wicked I wish I’d written it myself. I was enthralled by the audacious exploits of jewel thief Arthur Barry, who is so wonderfully drawn that I couldn’t help rooting for him. A Gentleman and a Thief is an irresistible slice of New York and Jazz Age history.” —Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park

“A top-shelf work of true crime… Jobb tells Barry’s tale with both rigor and pathos, painting a tender portrait of a crook who was never fearsome. This is liable to steal readers’ hearts.”—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

“Jobb brings [Arthur Barry] vividly to life in this topflight true crime narrative… What sets Jobb apart is the way he approaches his subjects with perception and compassion. This belongs in every library’s true crime section for every reader of this ever-growing genre.”—Booklist

“In this glittering gem of a book, which follows the rise, fall and eventual redemption of one of America’s most delightful jewel thieves, author Dean Jobb proves that, like his subject, he is a master of the craft. A Gentleman and a Thief is an addictively readable, don’t-miss story.”
 —Deborah Blum, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz-Age New York.

“Dean Jobb’s meticulous and entertaining excavation of the Jazz Age uncovers the charming Arthur Barry, a once-celebrated and now nearly forgotten 'second-story man'—a high society jewel thief of the first order. This gem of a book brings the Roaring Twenties back to life.”—Glenn Stout, author of Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid and Young Woman and the Sea

"Dean Jobb gives us a real-life character like no other, an audacious jewel thief working the society parlors of Jazz Age New York. Here is a book to put alongside the other greats of narrative non-fiction, as cinematic and vivid as any in the catalog of true crime storytelling." —Michael Cannell, author of A Brotherhood Betrayed and Incendiary

"A potent cocktail of high-end grift and Roaring Twenties opulence, Jobb's latest page-turner sparkles like a trove of stolen diamonds. F. Scott Fitzgerald himself couldn't have made up this story." —Joe Pompeo, Vanity Fair correspondent and author of Blood & Ink: The Scandalous Jazz Age Double Murder that Hooked America on True Crime
Product Details
ISBN: 9781643752839
ISBN-10: 1643752839
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 448
Language: English