The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriaty: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty

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9780002558242: The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriaty: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, the Real Moriarty

In the 1870s, Adam Worth left a life of professional deserting from the US army and entered into a life of full-scale crime. He soon became an orchestrator of thefts and cons throughout 19th-century America and Britain, and ringleader of the largest crime network in the world. He was famed, among other triumphs, for stealing Gainsborough's great portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire - and later for returning it. Yet, for many years, he was considered by many to be the perfect Victorian gentleman and, even in his criminal capacity, abhorred violence and was loyal to a fault. Conan Doyle based the character of Holmes' great adversary Moriarty on Adam Worth, who had his own Holmes in the shape of William Pinkerton of Pinkerton's detective agency, from whose slogan "the eye that never sleeps" originated the term "private eye". Their parallel careers form the basis of this book.

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Review:

‘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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