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

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Submitted by Anonymous on

We love true crime and author Dean Jobb's new book, A Gentleman and a Thief: The Daring Jewel Heists of a Jazz Age Rogue hits all the right notes! It's Catch Me If You Can meets The Great Gatsby meets Cary Grant in To Catch a Thief in this captivating Jazz Age true-crime caper about "the greatest jewel thief who ever lived". Dean will be in conversation with Vanity Fair Senior Media Correspondent, Joe Pompeo. We hope you can join us and the Ashland Public Library for this special event!


Questions? Contact Kerry: keodonnell@somervillema.gov

RECORDING NOTE: This program will be recorded. All registrants will receive the recording via email within 48 hours of the program.

About the Book:

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.

About Joe Pompeo:

Joe Pompeo's first book, BLOOD & INK: The Scandalous Jazz Age Double Murder That Hooked America on True Crime, was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice and a top pick for the Review’s Best True Crime of 2022. It got a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and raves from The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere. Criminal adapted it for a riveting podcast episode and Jeff Glor did a really nice segment for CBS Saturday Morning. The book has been optioned for podcast/film/TV. (Stay tuned!) His second book is in the works. (Also stay tuned!)

At Vanity Fair he's done profiles of major media figures like David Zaslav and Rachel Maddow, the latter of which earned him a second Mirror Award from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. He previously worked at publications including Politico and The New York Observer, and has also written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, New York, Bloomberg Businessweek, and many other outlets. He also offers a (free) Substack newsletter that’ll be right up your alley if you enjoy juicy narrative history and historical true crime. Click here to subscribe.

This program is presented in partnership with the Ashland Public Library and other MA libraries.

Registration will remain open until the program start time. When you register for this event, you'll receive an email confirmation with the Zoom link sent from the Ashland Public Library. Please make sure to check your spam folder if you don't see it initially. 

Start Time: 
7:00 PM
End Time: 
8:00 PM

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