Friday, March 16, 2007
Off Topic: The Napoleon of Crime, A Victorian's Polite Neurosis
The Napoleon of Crime: The Life and Times of Adam Worth, Master Thief, Ben MacIntyre, Farrer, Strauss, Giroux Publishing, 336 pp, 1997.
The Napoleon of Crime is a good, easy read; the author does not demand much from the reader. The chapters are short; some of the chapters appear to be padding, but remarkably everything is tied together in the last four chapters. I can recollect no violence in the book; the characters are well detailed and unique. The work is not a fictionalized attempt and the author appears to stay close to the sources. It must have been a temptation to have such interesting characters with which to work and not make up dialog. The author's effort to find emotional attachments and committments, which are not obvious from the records he consulted, is well down. No pop-psychology here, just understandable human probabilities. I was both entertained and informed by this book; it made no demands on me other than to pay attention and watch the details.