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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and flawed at the same time ...
If I am anything to go by, Ben MacIntyre's publishers are on to a good thing in releasing a paperback of this book on the back of the terrific Operation Mincemeat; the first thing I did after finishing that book was to dig out this one, which has been languishing on my reading list for rather too long (in fact since 1997 - how did that happen?!).
And make no mistake...
Published on 8 May 2010 by bookelephant

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been fascinating!
I like the author, but in this instance he wasn't able to really give any great insights into this Master criminal. It may be that because Adam Worth kept his own counsel that he was so successful, but it meant that the information about him mostly came from the FBI files. As a result they only knew about his failures or partial failures as a criminal, and the reader is...
Published 12 months ago by P. Dunleavy


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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and flawed at the same time ..., 8 May 2010
By 
bookelephant (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty (Paperback)
If I am anything to go by, Ben MacIntyre's publishers are on to a good thing in releasing a paperback of this book on the back of the terrific Operation Mincemeat; the first thing I did after finishing that book was to dig out this one, which has been languishing on my reading list for rather too long (in fact since 1997 - how did that happen?!).
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.
My other "niggles" are more about the core of the book. The first is that one does not get any real picture of what it was that Worth/Raymond did. We hear how the Pinkertons held his skills in high regard and how the head of Scotland Yard considered that what Worth did was more exciting than any sport he knew, but there is no real detail of the planning or execution of the heists - except the one which went badly wrong! As a result the way in which he was unique and distinguished does not really appear. The second niggle is that there is rather too much about the picture (and the charming Georgiana's reputation). Macintyre slightly labours Worth's emotional connection to the painting, and revels in the sensation and controversy which the painting created. One suspects that he too has fallen under her spell!
But the niggles are pretty small ones. All in all the book is excellent, a terrific read, and only flawed by comparison with the even better book which I think could have been written. (BTW - it would also make a wonderful film - I have been casting it in my head as I read it - I shall hope Hollywood thinks of this game too!)
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 5 Jun 2010
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This review is from: The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty (Paperback)
Brilliant book. I bought on the back of having read Agent Zig Zag & then Operation Mincemeat.

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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Napoleons of Crime, 13 Mar 2012
An amazing book which would be difficult to believe if it were not a true story.Adam Worth was a man of high intelligence,who used his abilities to further his life in crime. Living in a time of "PC plods",made his chosen career much easier.
Surely I see a film coming!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been fascinating!, 18 July 2013
By 
P. Dunleavy (London) - See all my reviews
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I like the author, but in this instance he wasn't able to really give any great insights into this Master criminal. It may be that because Adam Worth kept his own counsel that he was so successful, but it meant that the information about him mostly came from the FBI files. As a result they only knew about his failures or partial failures as a criminal, and the reader is left with far more questions than answers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling, fast-paced biography of the real Moriarty, 11 May 2013
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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 Moriarty.

The fact that it's a true story and weaves in the history of the Pinkertons and the Duchess of Gainsborough adds to the intrigue. Adam Worth's story is truly fascinating. I couldn't put it down!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fascinating Read, 29 April 2013
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This review is from: The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book.

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.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book by a brilliant author, 25 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty (Paperback)
Ben Mcintyre obviously does a lot of research before writing his books, consequently, each and every one of them are a brilliant read.
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4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unreadable, 5 April 2012
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This review is from: The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty (Paperback)
Oh dear.
Let's start with the good news. Between 1997 and the publication of Operation Mincemeat someone taught Ben Macintyre how to write. (Or engaged an excellent copy-editor for him).
The bad news is that this book came out in 1997. And the really sad news is that there is a cracking story in here - it's just that it is obscured and belittled by the author's appallingly plodding and unreadable prose.
Where this book does score is in its relentless inclusion (and repetition) of every cliche available. All work is 'a hand's turn', and even, if you can believe this, when a woman's ear comes up for reference it is.... YES! - 'shell-like'.
Oh dear. I would have liked to have found out what happened to Adam Worth in the end, but I simply couldn't wade my way through any more of this leaden undergrowth. No wonder it has only just re-surfaced.
Not recommended.
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3 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Napoleon of crime, 15 July 2010
By 
Lars Jönlid (gothenburg Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty (Paperback)
The book tells the story of Adam Worth who was the greatest master-criminal of Victorian times, he was the model for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's professor Moriarty.
A great read!
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