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The Great Pearl Heist: London's Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard's Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Necklace

Molly Caldwell Crosby.
Publisher Berkley/BOMC  
Format hardcover, BOMC
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1 inches
ISBN 9780425252802
Pages/Publication Date 288/2012
Daedalus Item Code 42211
This item is not available.
In the summer of 1913, under the cover of London's perpetual smoggy dusk, two brilliant minds—a celebrated gentleman thief and a talented Scotland Yard detective—pit themselves against each other in this vivid account of a sensational jewel theft, from the author of The American Plague and Asleep. An exquisite strand of pale pink pearls, worth more than the Hope Diamond, had been bought by a Hatton Garden broker, and word of the "Mona Lisa of Pearls" captivated thieves as well as jewelers around the world. En route from Paris to London, the necklace vanished without a trace. Molly Caldwell Crosby portrays a gripping psychological cat-and-mouse game, set against the last glorious years of Edwardian Britain.

"Legends surround pearls—that pearls are the tears of mermaids, for example, or that a pearl possessed by royalty will destroy anyone else who comes to own it. Pearls are unique: they're the only gemstones that come from a living being and the only stones that require no cutting or polishing. Natural pearls are often priceless. In this eye-opening account of the theft of the most valuable necklace in history, Crosby incorporates pearl legends and facts as well as a great deal of history surrounding the hardships of pearl diving and the intricacies of pearl trading before WWI. The Mayer Pearls, named after the jewelry trader Max Mayer, who purchased them in 1912, were a strand of 61 pearls whose centerpiece was a large teardrop pearl purchased from Portuguese royalty. They were worth more than the Hope Diamond. Crosby takes us into the criminal empire of one Joseph Grizzard, details Grizzard's plan to intercept the necklace on its way from Paris to London, opens up the heist itself, and then elaborates on how Scotland Yard, led by brilliant and tenacious Inspector Alfred Ward, hunted down the criminals and brought them to trial. Crosby's thriller-style account is backed up by her intensive research of Metropolitan Police records in the National Archives in London, along with contemporary accounts."—Booklist (starred review)

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