Synopses & Reviews
Bill Mason is arguably the greatest jewel thief who ever lived. During a thirty-year career he charmed his way into the inner circles of high society and stole over $35 million worth of fabulous jewels from such celebrities as Robert Goulet, Armand Hammer, Phyllis Diller (twice), Bob Hope, Margaux Hemingway, Johnny Weissmuller he even hit the Mafia.
Along the way he seduced a high-profile Midwest socialite into leaving her prominent industrialist husband, nearly died after being shot during a robbery, tricked both Christie's and Sotheby's into fencing stolen goods for him, was a fugitive for five years and the object of a nationwide manhunt, and yet spent less than three years total in prison, despite the best efforts of law enforcement authorities from several states as well as the federal government.
Shadowy, elusive, and intensely private, Mason has been the subject, of many magazine and newspaper features, but no journalist has ever come close to knowing the true story. Now, in his own words and with no holds barred, he reveals it all, and the real story is far more incredible than any of the reporters, detectives, or FBI agents who pursued Mason ever imagined.
"Fans of classic caper films like Topkapi and The Pink Panther will be fascinated by the true-life adventures of jewel thief Mason, who had a long and successful career. Starting in his early 20s in the 1960s, Mason stole valuable jewels from the famous (Phyllis Diller, Robert Goulet, Armand Hammer) and the merely affluent, using his wits and athletic ability to take advantage of supposedly burglar-proof security. His crimes, recollected in engrossing detail, involved careful planning and research, but he never fails to credit luck and simple human carelessness (almost every heist seems to feature at least one unlocked door or window). Mason's chutzpah is best illustrated by his confession to an unsolved burglary that victimized the then-boss of the Cleveland Mafia. Despite the long list of thefts he admits to, Mason spent little time in jail, largely thanks to some clever lawyering. While he apologizes for the impact his addiction to a life of crime had on his devoted wife, Barbara, and their three kids, the reader will find him a little less charming and sympathetic when the price his loved ones paid for his misdeeds sinks in. Unlike Frank Abagnale (Catch Me if You Can), who was a successful con artist during much of the same period, Mason hasn't taken steps to redeem himself by serving as a consultant to law-enforcement and sharing security vulnerabilities, and some may balk at further lining a crook's pockets by buying his book. Agent, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Apr. 20)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Engaging, extravagant account of life on the wrong side of the law that leaves readers to decide how much to like the rogue and how much to believe him." Kirkus Reviews
"I think this book's tremendous. As is always the case, real life, when properly described, is vastly more fascinating than fiction, and you need look no further for proof than Bill Mason's amazing story." Frank W. Abagnale, author of Catch Me If You Can and The Art of the Steal
"Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief is the kind of book that drives crime-fiction writers like me up a wall: No one would ever believe these amazing, compelling stories of theft and deception if they weren't sitting on the nonfiction rack. Mason tells his life story with such flair and confidence that I felt like I was dangling from a twenty-story ledge right along with him. Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief is the ultimate kind of guilty pleasure, because even though you know it's so wrong, it feels so right." Eric Garcia, author of Matchstick Men
"Confessions of a Master Jewel Thief is a compelling memoir that details a life of crime and a series of gutsy capers rivaling anything that Hollywood could dream up, exploits made all the more astonishing for having been pulled off single-handedly. Bill Mason, a self-described 'ordinary guy' who ended up ripping off everyone from Truman Capote to Phyllis Diller to the Mob, insists he's on the straight and narrow now, but his story sure stole a good night's sleep from me." Les Standiford, author of Havana Run and Last Train to Paradise
During his 30-year career, this charmer swindled celebrities, socialites and even the mob out of over $35 million worth of fabulous jewels--yet, he spent less than three years in prison. For the first time, the shadowy and elusive Mason shares his amazing story.