For all those readers who assume that Thirteen Against the Bank is a novel....... may I correct you?
Norman Leigh was my uncle (my mother's brother). I can assure you that he was a professional gambler, and that he really did have a "cartel" of 12 ordinary people who he trained to use his roulette system, which he had developed over many years.
He and they went to the South of France, and systematically broke the bank until they were banned and deported (but much richer for the experience!).
Uncle Norman was an extraordinary man. He had no formal education and was self-taught. He spoke 6 or 7 languages fluently, had a talent for mathematics, and was a gentleman of the old sort - yet he couldn't resist a challenge and taking risks - hence his life of gambling. He lived in Twickenham with his wife (later divorced) and son, Guy Julian, my cousin, who is in his late 30's now, and spent the latter part of his life in Lymington, Hampshire.
Unfortunately, Uncle Norman lived as a prince but died as a pauper, alcoholic, in a bed sit, and alone, about 20 years ago. I will always remember him for his style (he ALWAYS wore a suit, white shirt and either a cravat or bow tie). He was chivalrous, kind, intelligent, great company, always had a story to tell, and was a typical "lovable rogue".
Sara Barratt, niece to Norman Leigh