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

3.33 of 5 stars 3.33  ·  rating details  ·  446 ratings  ·  107 reviews
"Molly Caldwell Crosby once again brings forgotten history to vivid life in an absorbing account of crime and deduction in the early days of the twentieth century. . . ."
In the summer of 1913, under the cover of London's perpetual smoggy dusk, two brilliant minds are pitted against each other--a celebrated gentleman thief and a talented Scotland Yard detective--in the gre
ebook, 272 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Berkley Books
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When I heard the title and the subject of The Great Pearl Heist I knew it was on my list. Along with the subtitle London's Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard's Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Necklace clearly tells what this book is about and not much more is needed from me. If you're one of those people like me who like to see how thieves make their master plan then you'll probably enjoy this book. Just so you know this heist takes place in 1913 and deals with a gang that master plans the t
Feb 11, 2014 Carmen rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy real-life jewel thief tales
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Shelves: non-fiction
It's not the author's fault that I was literally falling asleep while reading this book.

She does her best to make this fascinating, but in the end I just don't care.

I don't care that a pearl necklace was stolen in 1913, that the thieves tried to sell it, that the jewel thief was an alleged mastermind, that the police created a sting to bring the thieves down. I don't care that they went to trial and were punished.

I need a little excitement in my books. Or philosophy, some deep thoughts. Not a su
Apr 21, 2013 Doreen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sara
Recommended to Doreen by: Saw it at the library
I surely enjoyed this tale about a band of thieves who stole a magnificent pearl necklace worth more than the Hope diamond! The book covers the details of the theft, as well as the workings of Scotland Yard in the early years of the twentieth century. The story progresses to an interesting trial in Great Britain and then wraps up with an epilogue that tells of each participant's life after trial; until their deaths.

The book is easy to read and the writing is good. I was a little underwhelmed by
I think I had greater expectations for more gripping story telling, just based on the title, since I had no knowledge of "the great pearl heist" before seeing this book on the short-loan shelf at my library. Ms. Crosby does a good job of picking through the Grizzard Gang's meticulous planning of this 1913 theft, but is still fell a bit flat as I perceived it. I guess the scurrying around the streets of the jewelers' district in London just is not that engrossing to me. The personalities were suf ...more
Sorry, I just didn't like it. The book was very well-researched, and there are some extremely interesting historical details, such as the development of Scotland Yard and the new role of detectives in the early 20th century. The people in the book just weren't multi-dimensional, because there are few historical documents available about their personal thoughts and feelings; therefore, I was left wanting to know more about them beyond where they grew up and whether or not they were married and ha ...more
Brian S
The problem with historical fiction of this type is that the actions of historical individuals often don't match up with the fictional character they are supposed to portray. Joseph Grizzard is supposed to be the top man in a vast underworld of crime, so cagey and intelligent that although he is known by everyone to be a criminal mastermind, nobody can touch him. Yet he meets, personally, and on multiple occasions, with two low-level hacks posing as potential buyers of a multi-million dollar nec ...more
Megan Richardson
This book came on my radar as soon as it came out because I've read both of Molly Caldwell Crosby's other books: "The American Plague" and "Asleep". In "The Great Pearl Heist", rather than focusing on medical mysteries, she tells the story of a jewelry heist in Edwardian London.

I really liked how the book was set up. In the first section, she introduced all the characters: the thieves, the detectives, even the necklace itself. All this detail made for a much richer story. I loved the history of
It is an interesting story but for some reason the book did not hold my interest. One of the difficulties with this story the author acknowledges in the notes: none of the four thieves arrested for the theft of the necklace left any kind of written statement; they didn’t even testify in their defense at the trial. So the most compelling part of the story (how they planned the heist, what they were thinking and feeling) is not available to us.
I wanted to love this book... a mystery and ensuing legal case involving the true heist of a set of pearls which were valued at four times the value of the Hope Diamond. However, for me, the book fell flat. It is obvious Crosby did a huge amount of research for this book but maybe that's the problem? At times, it read like a research project. name, name, name, date, date, date...
Jan 17, 2013 Gail rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Gail by: Book reviews
The subtitle of this book makes you think that it's a fast-paced thriller. Nope. It's more like a slow-witted borer. After sloughing through seventy-three pages, I gave up. I felt like I was reading a history report and what was written was flat.
What a disappointment.
Sheri Bay
My fiance bought me this book for Christmas. That is our deal, every Christmas he buys me a book that I wouldn't typically check out or buy myself. It helps me branch out, which is one of the things I love most about him in general. This year it was the Great Pearl Heist.

I liked the idea that this was based on an actual Heist, an actual event. I am not one to read non-fiction, but this was so easy to read and follow. It was like I was sitting with the author and she was telling me what actually
A fun read, told in true crime style, about a real jewel heist that took place in London in 1913. The author profiles the times, the neighborhoods that were the settings for the action, the major characters and the events in the story in highly readable style. Lest you be tempted to think she was making up the details she includes (such as quoted conversations), there are notes for each chapter, an impressive bibliography, and an index. There is also a poignant epilogue which tells what happened ...more
Feb 09, 2014 Jacque rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, downton Abby fans
Shelves: bio
The story of an actual heist of a strand of pearls so rare and valuable, they were worth more than the Hope diamond. The book is rich in the history and background of London in the centuries leading up to the heist, the development of Scotland Yard, background into detective literature such as Sherlock Holmes, the pearl and diamond industries, the jeweler profession and much more that I thoroughly enjoyed learning about. The author involves you in the pitting of the lead detective versus the mas ...more
This was an interesting peak into London society at the time, plus an intriguing glance into the beginnings of criminal investigation at New Scotland Yard. Tracking the theft of a very expensive pearl necklace, as well as the investigation of the crime, Crosby's book reads more like a work of fiction than non-fiction. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in historical crime solving.
An interesting book. Probably because it is a factual story rather than fiction, some parts were a bit confusing and disappointing. Learning about the history of New Scotland Yard detectives and crime fighting methods used 100 years ago was fascinating, as were the background stories of the various individuals involved. The "heist" itself and the search for the criminals afterwards seemed rather flat.
This is the definition of a 3 star book-nothing too bad and nothing about it grabs you and makes sit up and take notice(other than a chilling, direct quote from Jack London's description regarding East End Children dancing for the organ grinder and how that is completely absent as adults).

The crime itself is oversold. It's actually really simple, the necklace was sent by the owner over regular mail service! The justice aspect was also fairly bland and seemingly simple. There are a few tidbits li
The time period and the crime were interesting. It was well researched and the writing wasn't bad. But the book just didn't grab me like I thought it would.
Claudia Shaw
This book was very well researched and very interesting. The number of facts however weighed the action down way too much.
John Ross
The Great Pearl Heist was an easy read (250 pages with fairly large print) with an interesting, but not fascinating, story. It became apparent to me early in the book that the author had insufficient research information to put together the entire story of the crime, so she used a lot of ink painting a detailed picture of what the times and places were like. Overall, it was okay -- and I felt a lot of sympathy for the author who needed more hard information than was available to her -- but I wou ...more
This book probably deserves more stars but it just didn't appeal to me. I barely made it to chapter 2.
Bethany O'neil
Just okay. Reasonably interesting story, original writing style but a bit dry.
Carol Hukari
The subject was fascinating but I found the writing a bit labored
Great story that suffers from immature writing and a tendency to pad.
Victor Gentile
Molly Caldwell Crosby in her new book, “The Great Pearl Heist” published by Berkley Books gives us an account of London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace.

From the back cover: Molly Caldwell Crosby once again brings forgotten history to vivid life in an absorbing account of crime and deduction in the early days of the twentieth century. . . .

In the summer of 1913, under the cover of London’s perpetual smoggy dusk, two brilliant minds are pitted agai
I won The Great Pearl Heist from a firstreads giveaway, and I really enjoyed reading it. It was a well-constructed narrative account of a group of slippery jewel thieves who stole the worlds most valuable pearl necklace, and the Scotland Yard detectives who caught them.

Molly Caldwell Crosby begins her tale with a teaser heist of lesser jewels to set the scene. The main figures are a criminal and a detective. John Grizzard is the mastermind, and the only thing he is better at than planning a rob
I won an ARC of The Great Pearl Heist in a Goodreads giveaway, and I was really glad that I did. It made a great Christmas present for my mom, who loves mysteries of any kind, but particularly historical ones. (They're not precisely my cuppa, which is why the 4-star rating for me. For anyone who likes historical mysteries, this is probably a 5-star read.) This fit in perfectly for her, because even though we know from the start who planned and pulled off the heist, the fun is in finding out how ...more
Christina Dudley
An evocative and fascinating trip into Edwardian London's criminal underworld. And a quick read. I'd read Crosby's THE AMERICAN PLAGUE about yellow fever, and I thought this book was more successful because of its narrower scope and tighter structure. Crosby doesn't get lost in character backstories (as in the yellow fever book), telling us just what we need to know to keep up.

Very fun. True crime doesn't always have to be about murder.
This book had the potential to be thoroughly entertaining because some writers are gifted with storytelling panache. Unfortunately, Miss Molly Caldwell Crosby's style was inconsonant among those who are gifted and my enthusiasm quickly eroded. The characters were predictable, and the dialogues banal. Perhaps her other books would allow me to appreciate her talent.
Barb Hansen
The Great Pearl Heist happened at the turn of the century in London, or France and this book tells that story. At the same time Scotland Yard is growing, changing and developing cutting edge crime solving techniques. It was an interesting crime story. Pearls were so much more valuable back then and so much sought after by both thieves and jewelers. It is a fast read and entertaining.
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Molly Crosby is a best-selling author and journalist. Her first book The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History was published in November 2006 by Berkley Books, an imprint of Penguin, USA. The New York Times hailed it as a “first-rate medical detective drama,” and Newsweek called it “gripping.” The book has been nominated for the Barnes & Noble ...more
More about Molly Caldwell Crosby...
The American Plague: The Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic that Shaped Our History Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries

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