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A Prince of Swindlers

Guy Boothby

Book Overview: 

The year 18-- was a momentous one in Great Britain. Not only did the nation receive most of the world's royalty for months on end, but the well-to-do gentleman, Simon Carne spent much of the social season in London. On friendly terms with royalty, sponsored into society by Lord Amberly, formerly viceroy of India, Carne's horse won the Derby and his Yacht the Queen's Cup. But at the same time, a serious of notorious swindles, thefts and other crimes plagued London and the surrounding environs. The mysterious detective Klimo, did a thriving business by attempting to resolve the crimes. Little did Londoners suspect that Klimo and Carne were one and the same, and the notorious activity remained unsolved until a confession was obtained by Lord Amberly, from the man who became known as A Prince of Swindlers.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .the semi-obscurity of the stairs, the dazzling light of the apartment in which he now stood was almost too much for his eyes. It was not long, however, before he had recovered sufficiently to look about him. The room was a fine one, in shape almost square, with a large window at the further end covered with a thick curtain of native cloth. It was furnished with considerable taste, in a mixture of styles, half European and half native. A large lamp of worked brass, burning some sweet-smelling oil, was suspended from the ceiling. A quantity of tapestry, much of it extremely rare, covered the walls, relieved here and there with some superb specimens of native weapons; comfortable divans were scattered about, as if inviting repose, and as if further to carry out this idea, beside one of the lounges, a silver-mounted marghyle was placed, its tube curled up beside it in a fashion somewhat suggestive of a snake.

But, luxurious as it all was, it was . . . Read More

Community Reviews

Very entertaining stories about gentleman burglar Simon Carne, welcomed into London society at the turn of the 20th century as a peer, and the crimes he commits while posing as a rich member of England's upper crust. Something like what Sherlock Holmes could have done if he chose to use his gifts...more

The gentleman thief archetype has rather fallen out of fashion in modern times (though still can be seen in recent films like Oceans 11 and its interminable sequels/spinoffs/imitators) but during the early 1900s it was a rather big deal. These anti-Sherlock Holmes, likable rouges and villains wit...more

I'm a sucker for Penguin Classic paperbacks. So, when I saw this at the dollar store, I got it. It was written in 1900 and is almost an anti-Sherlock Holmes. The "hero" is a very smart criminal. He fools the English upper class and comes away with millions. The upper crust dialogue is fun, but th...more

A chance encounter between a British diplomat and a con man leads to a series of adventures.

I thought this book was really good – the central character was an ‘honourable crook’ and I found myself liking him. All the swindles were believable.

As I read it I kept thinking of...more

If you're ever looking for a good example of the "gentleman thief" prototype Simon Carne is your man. This book is really a collection of short stories, each one detailing one of his exploits. He steals a famous necklace, money for earthquake victims (that one was hard to enjoy given the terrible...more

This is the story of a master thief who has conned all of London. I really enjoyed these stories, for that's what they were, a group of stories listed as "chapters". The boldness and chutzpah that this thief has was truly amazing. The story was light-hearted fun.

Read if you like light...more

Fabulous read. Follow the adventures of Simon Carne as he arrives in England in the auspicious year 18--. Outwardly a respectable member of the upper class, he is, in fact, king of disguise and at least prince of swindlers, getting clean away with jewels, gold and other precious items. No mean th...more

I noticed this book in the library and it caught my eye for two reasons: it was short and it was a Penguin Classic, two traits which are always strong recommendations. I'd never heard of Boothby before and I'm sure most readers of this book were similarly ignorant, so Penguin deserves credit for...more

Simon Carne is an ingenious thief, con man, and master of disguise. In the guise of a charming social gadfly collector of antiquities with a hunchbacked deformity, yet attractive looks he and his butler slice their way through London's rich, titled, and pompous society and plunder riches beyond b...more

Thought this would be fun but it wasn't.

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