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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 fo

I first read “The Duchess of Wiltshire’s Diamonds” two decades ago in Hugh Greene’s superlative anthology The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. Ever since then I’d hoped to catch up with further adventures of Simon Carne / Klimo, but hadn’t tracked down The Prince of Swindlers until now. The overall premis

A real novelty; the Australian author wrote 50 books in 10 years before dying aged 37.
Almost forgotten now - he was a sensation in his day and gave us many archetype villians.
This is an easy melodramatic read - packed full of imagination and real escapism.

Six connected storied of gentleman thief Simon Carne, whose alter ego is the private detective Klimo, “as great as Lecoq, or even the late lamented Sherlock Holmes.” Though not quite a Robin Hood, as he keeps his stolen goods for his own uses, Carne's villainy is not of a hue dark enough to put off

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 with a

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 a criminal version of Sher

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 ea

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 lighthearted crime s

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 thief

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