A Gentleman and a Thief

The Daring Jewel Heists of a Jazz Age Rogue

by Dean Jobb

On Sale: 06/04/2024

A Gentleman and a Thief

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A Gentleman and a Thief

The Daring Jewel Heists of a Jazz Age Rogue

by Dean Jobb

On Sale: 06/04/2024

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About the Book

National Bestseller

Globe and Mail Bestseller List

Toronto Star Bestseller List

An Amazon.com Editors’ Pick as a Best Book, Best History & Best Biography

Catch Me If You Can meets The Great Gatsby in this Jazz Age tale of a master jewel thief who charmed celebrities and hobnobbed with New York’s millionaires while planning audacious heists to relieve them of their treasures.

A skilled con artist and perhaps one of the most charming, audacious burglars in history, Arthur Barry slipped in and out of the bedrooms of New York’s wealthiest residents, even as his victims slept only inches away. He befriended luminaries such as the Prince of Wales and Harry Houdini and became a folk hero, touted in the press as “the greatest jewel thief who ever lived” and an “aristocrat of crime.” In a span of seven years, Barry stole diamonds, pearls, and other gems worth almost $60 million today. Among his victims were a Rockefeller, an heiress to the Woolworth department store fortune, an oil magnate, Wall Street bigwigs, a top executive of automotive giant General Motors, and a famous polo player.

Dean Jobb—hailed by Esquire magazine as “a master of narrative nonfiction”—once again delivers a stylishly told, high-speed ride. A Gentleman and a Thief is also a love story. Barry confessed to dozens of burglaries to protect his wife, Anna Blake (and was the prime suspect in scores of others). Sentenced to a twenty-five-year term, he staged a dramatic prison break when Anna became seriously ill so they could be together for a few more years as fugitives.

With dozens of historic images, A Gentleman and a Thief is page-turning escapism that sparkles with insight into our fascination with jewel heists and the suave, clever criminals who pull them off.

Critical Praise

“Dean Jobb has long been a master of narrative nonfiction, rummaging through the past to uncover lost gems of history. And in this mesmerizing tale about a Jazz Age gentlemanly thief, Jobb has found his own perfect jewel.”  — David Grann, #1 NY Times bestselling author of The Wager and Killers of the Flower Moon

"Delectably entertaining ... vividly recounts the life and times of the notorious criminal – and tabloid fixture – Arthur Barry ... Jobb, whose fondness for cold chapter-opens matches that of Law & Order’s writers, seems incapable of penning a dull moment."  — New York Times

"A top-shelf work of true crime ... Jobb tells Barry’s tale with both rigor and pathos, painting a tender portrait of a crook who was never fearsome. This is liable to steal readers’ hearts." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Prepare to be charmed by an anti-hero. This true story of a Jazz Age gentleman burglar — and the lengths he'd go to for the love of his life — is a delight." — B&N Reads

“Jobb brings [Barry] vividly to life in this topflight true crime narrative .… This belongs in every library’s true crime section for every reader of this ever-growing genre.” — Booklist

“The chapters are short, the energy propulsive, the research prodigious.” — Washington Post

“A well-developed historical true crime story showcasing Jobb’s mastery of the genre … told at a good clip, meticulously researched and with photos to enhance the story.”  — The Seaboard Review

“A potent cocktail of high-end grift and Roaring Twenties opulence, Jobb's latest page-turner sparkles like a trove of stolen diamonds. F. Scott Fitzgerald himself couldn't have made up this story.”  — Joe Pompeo, Vanity Fair correspondent and author of Blood & Ink: The Scandalous Jazz Age Double Murder that Hooked America on True Crime

A Gentleman and a Thief is an enthrallingly propulsive, unpredictably twisty biography of one of the most fascinating criminals of the twentieth century. Dean Jobb’s immersive writing and in-depth research brings this startling true story to life. I was hooked from the very first heist.” — Michael Finkel, bestselling author of The Art Thief and The Stranger in the Woods

“This captivating tale will charm its way into your affections like the charismatic rogue at its heart. A Gentleman and a Thief is the glittering jewel of its genre. Once more, Dean Jobb proves he’s a master storyteller.” — Lindsey Fitzharris, New York Times bestselling author of The Facemaker 

“Dean Jobb's meticulous and entertaining excavation of the Jazz Age uncovers the charming Arthur Barry, a once-celebrated and now nearly forgotten “second-story man” – a high society jewel thief of the first order. This gem of a book brings the Roaring Twenties back to life.” — Glenn Stout, author of Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid and Young Woman and the Sea 

“Dean Jobb gives us a real-life character like no other, an audacious jewel thief working the society parlors of Jazz Age New York. Here is a book to put alongside the other greats of narrative non-fiction, as cinematic and vivid as any in the catalog of true crime storytelling.”  — Michael Cannell, author of A Brotherhood Betrayed and Incendiary

“In this glittering gem of a book, which follows the rise, fall and eventual redemption of one of America's most delightful jewel thieves, author Dean Jobb proves that, like his subject, he is a master of the craft. A Gentleman and a Thief is an addictively readable, don't-miss story.” — Deborah Blum, Pulitzer-prize winning author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz-Age New York.

“A dazzling triumph of narrative nonfiction. Dean Jobb writes as nimbly as his ‘gentleman thief’ moves through the darkened homes of his wealthy targets – and delivers a roaring tour of 1920s high society.” — Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of Lost in Shangri-La and Ponzi’s Scheme 

“Dean Jobb has unearthed a long-forgotten anti-hero from the annals of true crime and spun a tale so deliciously wicked I wish I’d written it myself. I was enthralled by the audacious exploits of jewel thief Arthur Barry, who is so wonderfully drawn that I couldn’t help rooting for him. A Gentleman and a Thief is an irresistible slice of New York and Jazz Age history.” — Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park 

“You can’t help but root for the glamorous gentleman jewel thief at the center of Dean Jobb’s immersive true crime saga … breezily told … Barry’s escapades have elements of our favorite fictional thieves and con men.”  — BookPage

“A fast-paced yet thorough account … I chuckled, I gasped, I pondered and sighed throughout this well-written history lesson that was intriguing, impressive and masterful …. If Dean Jobb wrote the history books available in schools, I think I would have liked history class.”  — The Miramichi Reader

“As Dean Jobb tells it in his brisk, beautifully written new book, Barry … was the antithesis of the crude oafs frequently featured in the era’s popular true-crime magazines.”  — CrimeReads

“I can’t tell you what a great book this is … such a powerful, powerful nonfiction book … this deserves to be a bestseller.” — Rick Kogan, WGN Radio, Chicago

“A master criminal capable of even pushing flying legend Charles Lindbergh off the front pages...exhilarating…scrupulously researched [with] a tenacious attention for detail.” — Postmedia

"Told with brio, historical details galore, dramatic chapter openings, and attributes familiar from top-drawer crime fiction, it’s a love story, to boot. It is, in the end, a gem of tale." — The Rap Sheet

"The rollicking tale of a Gatsby-esque rake who delighted in diamonds ... irresistible ... Jobb once again plunges into a real-life, forgotten tale of an audacious criminal and emerges with a story that supports the cliché that truth is stranger than fiction." — Washington Independent Review of Books

"Just plain fantastic. Arthur Barry's exploits will appeal not only to fans of true crime and the Roaring Twenties but to anyone who loves a clever, elaborate heist and the debonair criminal who can pull it off."  — The BookBrowse Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443468534
  • ISBN 10: 1443468533
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 06/04/2024
  • Pages: 448
  • List Price:25.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : TRUE CRIME / Heists & Robberies
  • BISAC2 : TRUE CRIME / Hoaxes & Deceptions
  • BISAC3 : TRUE CRIME / General

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