- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: HarperPress; New Ed edition (5 Jan. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0006550622
- ISBN-13: 978-0006550624
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 91,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty Paperback – 5 Jan 2012
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‘A good deal more thrilling than most thrillers’
Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph
‘A most remarkable and entertaining biography. It is a highly charged thriller, a moving love affair, a dramatic history of the Victorian criminal underworld, a noble tragedy’
Alexander Waugh, Independent on Sunday
‘A well-researched and lively account…Macintyre has an appetite for fact, assiduity and wit’ Asa Briggs, The Times
‘This is a delicious mingling of through research, lyrical storytelling and empathetic crime reporting…a stylish, original, and picturesque story that reads better than the vast bulk of crime books currently in print’ Michael Coren, Literary Review
From the Back Cover
''He is the Napoleon of Crime, Watson. He is the organizer of half that is evil and nearly all that is undetected in this great city. He is a genius, a philosopher, an abstract thinker…''
Adam Worth was the greatest master-criminal of Victorian times. Abjuring violence and gathering the trappings of respectability, he became the ringleader of the largest criminal network in the world and the model for Conan Doyle's evil genius, Professor Moriarty.
Starting out as a professional deserter during the American Civil War, Adam Worth soon made a name for himself in the notorious Bowery district of Manhattan. Embarking on a campaign of bank robbery, forgery and fraud, he moved among the upper classes, emulated them, and robbed them blind. His most audacious coup – the theft of the world's most valuable painting.
'The Napoleon of Crime' is a true account of the Victorian underworld that rivals the most imaginative fiction.
"A well-researched and lively account…Macintyre has an appetite for fact, assiduity, and wit.'
ASA BRIGGS, 'The Times'
"This is a delicious mingling of thorough research, lyrical storytelling and empathetic crime reporting…a stylish, original and picturesque story that reads better that the vast bulk of crime books currently in print."
MICHAEL COREN, 'Literary Review'
"A most remarkable and entertaining biography. It is a highly charged thriller, a moving love affair, a dramatic history of the Victorian criminal underworld, a noble tragedy."
ALEXANDER WAUGH, 'Independent on Sunday'
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Top Customer Reviews
And make no mistake about it, those who do read this have a treat in store.
The story is simply fantastic - the story of the man who inspired Conan Doyle to create Moriarty, and who was one of the pioneers of the inventive heist (eg the one in the Red Headed League"); the story of the gentleman crook with a strong moral code and a heart (relatively speaking) of gold; and the story of the two women he loved - the merry Irish Kitty who was his mistress but abandoned him to become a New York society millionairess, and the portrait of Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire, which bore a more than passing resemblence to the lovely Kitty, and who (which?) the great thief stole and kept until his death was in sight.
A friend felt the book was a little "thin". I think I disagree, but I slightly see where he is coming from. It is certainly not short of incident or interest; the story rackets along like a funfair ride, at a great pace, full of events and excitement, and wonderful characters. But one would certainly like to know more about many of the incidents and characters, and the charge of "thin-ness" may have force there. Of course there have to be limits, and too much about the "gang" would unbalance the book; but I did feel that there was a bigger, even better book which could have been written.Read more ›
It rattles along at a fair pace, diverts off into some very interesting areas (& then back to the main topic).
If you are looking for an intelligent holiday read (I had problems in putting it down, which causes problems when you have work to go to in the morning)highly reccomended.
I had previously read 'Agent Zig Zag' by the same author, and found it well-researched and entertaining, and my experience was similar with this book.
The author is able to turn other sources, some of them no doubt quite detailed and dull, into a really fascinating account. In addition, he adds depth and colour, whilst being careful to clearly identify events where there are conflicting views and opinions. He deftly avoids only trusting the accounts that will give the best 'story', and feels worthy of trust as a result, whilst providing an entertaining read which is never dry.
An entertaining and enlightening read.
Surely I see a film coming!
Worth is not an admirable character, although we can see that he might have been much worse but it is difficult to understand at times why he rose to the top of his "trade". The author describes his exploits but fails to help us understand what exactly it was that Worth did that made him more successful in crime than his compatriots - other than think big. We maybe needed more details of how he planned his crimes and carried them out. The same applies to the Pinkerton men who pursued and tracked him down - how exactly did they do this and why couldn't others do the same ? More detail would have enhanced the book but I still thought that the narrative was clear and informative and written in such a way that it kept me hooked.
Worth's most publicised crime was the theft of the portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire which he stole and then kept hold of for many years. He appeared to have an attraction for the painting which is difficult to grasp.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm quite hard to please in terms of books. This one by Ben Macintryre is a fantastic, fast-past biography of a man who was the inspiration for Sherlock Holmes's arch-nemesis... Read morePublished on 11 May 2013 by C. Morley
Ben Mcintyre obviously does a lot of research before writing his books, consequently, each and every one of them are a brilliant read.Published on 25 Dec. 2012 by Mancunian
Let's start with the good news. Between 1997 and the publication of Operation Mincemeat someone taught Ben Macintyre how to write. Read more