Archive for December, 2013

NGL_26PEARLHEIST_28497414On Monday, December 2th, the Booked for the Day Book Group met to discuss the book, The Great Pearl Heist: London’s greatest thief and Scotland Yard’s hunt for the world’s most valuable necklaceby Molly Caldwell Crosby. Here are a few things we discussed during the meeting:

The Great Pearl Heist is a non-fiction book that covers the theft and hunt for the world’s most valuable necklace in 1913 London. Though it is a true story, the book reads like a thriller and kept most of us captivated till the end. We appreciated the well-researched book that included some personal information about the characters involved.

We all loved getting to know the two main characters of the story – the thief, Joseph Grizzard, the “greatest receiver, fence, and putter-up of his time” and Scotland Yard’s “real life Moriarty,” and the detective, Alfred Ward, chief inspector of Scotland Yard, leader of a team of detectives who employed disguises, undercover operations and stings, which we learned were a new type of police work that began during that time period.

The book gave as much detailed descriptions of the famous crime as was possible, since Grizzard and his crew were never put on the witness stand and never told how the crime was committed to anyone.  Even though the trial in Old Bailey was interesting, we thought that it would have been a lot more exciting if the Grizzard gang had testified.

When I asked the group who they were rooting for, they all agreed that they were rooting for Grizzard and thought he was quite a character. He seemed cool and collected when approached by the police, and nothing seemed to get him upset. We talked about the fact that these thieves did not seem to be violent, and that no one was hurt, and that Grizzard was respected by his gang and the underground community because he took care of the people who worked for him.

We had a copy of The Great Pearl Robbery of 1913 by Christmas Humphreys which was published in 1929 and provided more information regarding the heist. It also had more pictures of all the main characters, which were interesting for us to see.

The group talked about pearls and how they were rare until they discovered how to cultivate them. In Christmas Humphrey’s book he tells us that it took 10 years to collect the perfect size and color pearls for the necklace, which helped our understanding as to why the necklace was so valuable.

We also talked about Lockett who was another cool character. We all wondered what was hidden in his home that someone was willing to pay top dollar for it.

Our only critique was that it could have had a little more drama if Crosby had written it from the perspective of one of the characters instead of like a reporter, which would also have provided more of an emotional aspect.  We all liked the epilogue and how they told you what happened to all the character in the story.

In this story where Grizzard and Ward become friends, we were happy that both characters were heroes.  The group decided that they would recommend this book. These are just a few things mentioned during the discussion. Please feel free to add any of your thoughts in the comment section.


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