In the summer of 1873, four American forgers went on trial at the Old Bailey for the greatest fraud the world had ever seen: the attempted theft of five million dollars from the Bank of England. In The Thieves of Threadneedle Street, Nicholas Booth tells the extraordinary true story of the forgers' earliest escapades, culminating in the heist at the world’s leading financial institution. At the heart of the story is the charming criminal genius Austin Bidwell who, on the brink of escaping with his fortune, saw his luck finally run out.
There were double crosses and miraculous escapes. There were chases across rural Ireland, through Scottish cities, across the Atlantic on ships heading toward Manhattan and — most exotic of all — Cuba, where the most elusive thief would eventually be captured, only to escape again. Hot on their trail was William Pinkerton, "the greatest detective in America," scion of the famous detective agency.
With its cast of improbable villains, curious coincidences, and extraordinary adventures, this is an astounding international caper with twists and turns that often defy belief. With access to previously unopened archives, Nicholas Booth has unearthed the greatest untold crime saga of the Victorian Era.
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About the Author
Nicholas Booth is a writer and broadcaster. His most recent book was the acclaimed Zigzag - the incredible wartime exploits of double agent Eddie Chapman which is now in production by Tom Hanks Playtone company for Warners. A former newspaper journalist, editorial director, and mobile publisher, he lives in Cheshire, England with his wife.
Table of Contents
1 Formidable Rascals 13
2 Strangers, Silk Hats and Salting Welts 35
3 Rogues' Gallery 56
4 The Social Triumphs of a Silver King 77
5 Mistresses of Misfortune 101
6 The Skewering of Colonel Peregrine Madgwick Francis 122
7 The Finer Arts of Forgery 146
8 Hearts and Minds 170
9 Strange Messengers 193
10 Devil to Pay 216
11 Before Your Very Eyes 243
12 Cat and Mouse 268
13 Means of Escape 290
14 The Melancholy of All Things Done 314
Bibliography and Sources 345