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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

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3.37  ·  Rating Details ·  660 Ratings  ·  148 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
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ebook, 272 pages
Published November 1st 2012 by Berkley Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jill Hutchinson
Ho-hum. Somehow I thought this book would offer more than it did. A priceless pearl necklace is stolen by a very organized gang of thieves in London and the book traces how they were finally caught. Sounds exciting but it wasn't. If I read one more thing about how they moved from one pub/hotel to another to have clandestine meetings where nothing much happened, I would have screamed. Additionally, there was much description of the buildings and their interior design in early 20th century London ...more
Carol
Apr 28, 2013 Carol rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
3.5
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
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Carmen
Feb 10, 2014 Carmen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who enjoy real-life jewel thief tales
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
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Doreen
Apr 18, 2013 Doreen rated it really liked it  ·  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
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Nancy
Feb 11, 2013 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Lauri
May 09, 2013 Lauri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Megan Richardson
Jan 13, 2013 Megan Richardson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Brian S
Mar 06, 2013 Brian S rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The problem with historical recreations of this type is that the actions of historical individuals often don't match up with the "character" they are supposed to portray. The historical events/persons are molded and shaped by the author to fit into the molds cast by fiction genres. In this case, the detective/hard-boiled fiction genre. 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 maste ...more
Christiane
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.
Heather
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...
Gail
Jan 17, 2013 Gail rated it did not like it  ·  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.
Karen
Jan 05, 2013 Karen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
Zzzzzzzzz.
Sheri
Dec 25, 2013 Sheri rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Stephanie
I enjoyed this book a great deal. I especially like period true crime, and this one was a cut about many I've read over the years.

In this book you have the lovely combination of an intricate plot to steal what was the most beautiful and expensive necklace in the world at the time. I have to admit I drooled at the thought of natural pearl necklace (this was before cultured pearls) which was made of soft pink pearls both precisely matched in color and lustre, and tapered from large at the center
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Karen
Dec 02, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detectives, england
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
Anna
May 02, 2013 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, non-fiction
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.
Kandice
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.
Claudia Shaw
This book was very well researched and very interesting. The number of facts however weighed the action down way too much.
Beth
Sep 22, 2015 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An interesting & well written true story narrated by Michael Page.
Julie
Aug 01, 2013 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book probably deserves more stars but it just didn't appeal to me. I barely made it to chapter 2.
Liz
Apr 19, 2013 Liz rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, cpl
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.
Carol Hukari
The subject was fascinating but I found the writing a bit labored
Alice
Feb 06, 2013 Alice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story that suffers from immature writing and a tendency to pad.
Bethany O'neil
Just okay. Reasonably interesting story, original writing style but a bit dry.
Bayneeta
May 04, 2017 Bayneeta rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, audio
Interesting but never gripping. Audio nicely read by Michael Page.
Victor Gentile
Nov 18, 2012 Victor Gentile rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Ila Jean
The author did intensive research, and immerses you in the pre-war world of 1913 London and a cat-and-mouse game between "gentlemen criminals" and detectives from Scotland Yard. With words she paints vivid pictures of life in London and adds some historical details. She has an eye and ear and a writing style that made me think I was in the streets, tea rooms, and salons of London.
Elspeth G. Perkin
“There are plenty of people who like gems with a history…”

So many little facets that perfectly caught the light of searches and book recommendations initially drew me to this title including the narrator’s pleasant voice that seemed to match very nicely with this book but I must confess the main attraction was the chance to learn about another exquisite trinket from a favorite bygone era. Call me a history magpie but I couldn’t resist and with hours of night to work through, I decided The Great
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Todd Stockslager
Review title: Take away her thesaurus

I down rated Crosby's debut popular history of the American Yellow Refer epidemic of the 19th century a couple years ago because she didn't trust her resources to tell the story, trying instead to write excitement into it with somewhat questionable use of the sources and overuse of overly-dramatic prose. When I saw this most recent, her third, I decided to see what progress she has made by now. The good news is Crosby has learned to trust her sources, the bad
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Michelle
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
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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
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