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Master Thieves : The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World's Greatest Art Heist
by Stephen Kurkjian


Overview - The definitive story of the greatest art theft in history.

In a secret meeting in 1981, a low-level Boston thief gave career gangster Ralph Rossetti the tip of a lifetime: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was a big score waiting to happen.  Read more...


 
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More About Master Thieves by Stephen Kurkjian
 
 
 
Overview
The definitive story of the greatest art theft in history.

In a secret meeting in 1981, a low-level Boston thief gave career gangster Ralph Rossetti the tip of a lifetime: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was a big score waiting to happen. Though its collections included priceless artworks by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Degas, and others, its security was cheap, mismanaged, and out of date. And now, it seemed, the whole Boston criminal underworld knew it.

Nearly a decade passed before the Museum museum was finally hit. But when it finally happened, the theft quickly became one of the most infamous art heists in history: thirteen works of art valued at up to 500 million, by some of the most famous artists in the world, were taken. The Boston FBI took control of the investigation, but twenty-five years later the case is still unsolved and the artwork is still missing.

Stephen Kurkjian, one of the top investigative reporters in the country, has been working this case for over nearly twenty years. In Master Thieves, he sheds new light on some of the Gardner's most abiding mysteries. Why would someone steal these paintings, only to leave them hidden for twenty-five years? And why, if one of the top crime bosses in the city knew about this score in 1981, did the theft happen in 1990? What happened in those intervening years? And what might all this have to do with Boston's notorious gang wars of the 1980s?

Kurkjian's reporting is already responsible for some of the biggest breaks in this story, including a meticulous reconstruction of what happened at the Museum museum that fateful night. Now Master Thieves will reveal the identities of those he believes plotted the heist, the motive for the crime, and the details that the FBI has refused to discuss. Taking you on a journey deep into the gangs of Boston, Kurkjian emerges with the most complete and compelling version of this story ever told.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781610394239
  • ISBN-10: 1610394232
  • Publisher: Public Affairs
  • Publish Date: March 2015
  • Page Count: 247
  • Dimensions: 1.25 x 6.25 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.04 pounds


Related Categories

Books > True Crime > Organized Crime
Books > Biography & Autobiography > Criminals & Outlaws
Books > History > United States - State & Local - New England

 
BookPage Reviews

High-stakes heist

The buzzer blared from the door of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. The night watchman peered into the grainy video monitor and saw two men in police uniforms. The men persuaded the watchman to open the door. Once inside, the men bound and gagged the watchman and a fellow security guard and made off with $500 million in stolen art. Among the 13 masterpieces taken in the March 18, 1990, heist were Rembrandt’s The Storm on the Sea of Galilee and Vermeer’s The Concert.

Thus begins Stephen Kurkjian’s Master Thieves, a tale of one of the most brazen and expensive art thefts in history, still unsolved.

Kurkjian, an investigative reporter and three-time Pulitzer Prize winner, pens the book like a mystery novel, examining the scenarios that the FBI has considered over the years. Was the Gardner Museum heist the work of organized crime or low-level thugs? Was it an inside job? Why was security so lax? Is the stolen art hidden in a backwater warehouse or a shed in the woods? Kurkjian explores all the possibilities and comes up with a plausible new theory of his own.

Master Thieves is a fast-paced book that will appeal to all those who enjoy art, mysteries and true crime. It’s a story that proves the adage: Truth is stranger than fiction.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews