A Gentleman and a Thief by Dean Jobb

If Dean Jobb wrote the history books available in schools, I think I would have liked history class! In A Gentleman and a Thief, history is its own character instead of simply a time or era. Jobb frames his look at history with the fast-paced, clever and elusive tale of Arthur Barry, a dapper kind of thief.

If Dean Jobb wrote the history books available in schools, I think I would have liked history class!

As a teenager, Barry’s first job was to deliver explosives – only he didn’t know that at first. He was instead provided a package, advised to be very careful with it, and sent on his way. The trials and careful handling of both gems and people continued for many years after. While careful not to wake those sleeping in the rooms he broke into, being caught was inevitable, as often times those slumbering awoke and were startled to see him in their room. When that happened, he made the most of the situation, calmed them and escaped often with rings directly from their finger.

While careful not to wake those sleeping in the rooms he broke into, being caught was inevitable.

It isn’t obvious to many how you could love a man who steals, so when Anna Blake did, it came with the theory that she must have known who he was and what he did. Barry, however, was a master of deception and planned out his activities so meticulously that no one was the wiser and he went on many years stealing extremely high value items, bidding good day and avoiding capture. Until, that is, he worked with a partner and things quickly escalated.

Jobb writes a fast-paced yet thorough account of crime in the 1920’s, including the value of money compared to now, a look inside prisons and the method’s used in effort to rehabilitate their prisoners and the look at journalism and how the sensationalizing of stories unfolded. 

While reading this book I equally admired Barry’s clever actions and kindness as I did Jobb’s ability to ease me into respecting a thief and hoping for a happy reunion with his love Blake. I chuckled, I gasped, I pondered and sighed throughout this well-written history lesson that was intriguing, impressive and masterful.

Dean Jobb is the author of The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream, winner of the inaugural CrimeCon CLUE Award for true-crime book of the year and longlisted for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. His previous books include Empire of Deception, which the New York Times Book Review called “intoxicating and impressively researched” and was named the Chicago Writers Association’s Nonfiction Book of the Year. Jobb has written for major newspapers and magazines including the Chicago Tribune, the Globe and Mail and the Irish Times, and was hailed by Esquire magazine as “a master of narrative non-fiction.” Dean Jobb is a professor in the master of fine arts in creative non-fiction program at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (June 4, 2024)
Paperback 6″ x 9″ | 448 pages
ISBN: 9781443468534

 -- Website

I am a struggling artist, a challenging and challenged mother who always thinks she is failing, an emerging freelance writer and reporter, an author with my name on several books crossing genres and always hoping to find more readers who enjoy them.

I am also a successful artist, a wonderful and thriving mother of one, a reacher towards both people and dreams despite all of the turned backs and obstacles in my way. I am a thriving freelance writer and reporter, an author loved by enough readers to make it worthwhile and a discombobulated conundrum who loves to hear new music, tell new tales and meet new authors. And I’m doing something I always dreamed of doing – reviewing books to support others as well as myself and my family.