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The story of the biggest theft in art history

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About "Master Thieves"

It is a case defined by superlatives - the largest art theft in history, carrying the world’s largest reward offer, longer on the FBI’s list of biggest unsolved art crimes than any other save one. Two men disguised as Boston Police officers trick their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum after midnight, tie up the two night watchmen and make off with an estimated half billion dollars worth of artwork including three works by Rembrandt and a Vermeer masterpiece.

Now 25 years after the theft, Stephen Kurkjian who was the principal reporter on the case for The Boston Globe for years, has written a gripping account of the still-unsolved heist of a quarter century ago. In MASTER THIEVES Kurkjian reveals how the two criminal gangs battling for control of the Boston under-world knew of the museum’s poor security and that one had a motive to pull off the theft - to fashion an exchange that would result in the release of its leader from federal prison.

  • What makes Kurkjian’s book so gripping is precisely the quality lacking in [Anthony] Amore’s” an accomplished investigator’s sense of open-minded humility.
    New York Times
  • Author Stephen Kurkjian, who won three Pulitzer Prizes as a Globe investigative reporter, has pulled together a cast of characters that would make Martin Scorsese swoon in admiration. There are so many crime-world figures with their fingers in this story that the book is like a “GoodFellas’’/“The Departed’’ double feature.
    Boston Globe
  • More than just a summation of all that’s publicly known about the case - from the thieves’ false mustaches to the F.B.I.’s sting operations - Kurkjian’s book is an impressive attempt to solve the crime by reconsidering the evidence.
    New York Times


Lost
Who robbed the Gardner Museum?

Bostonia, Summer, 2015
By Susan Seligson

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TriStar, Matt Tolmach Score Art Heist Book ‘Master Thieves’

Deadline, Aprilr, 30th, 2015
By Mike Fleming Jr

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American History’s Biggest Art Theft Hits 25 Years Unsolved

Time, March 18, 2015
By Lily Rothman

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Does a Connecticut shed hold the secrets of the Gardner heist?

The Boston Globe, Sunday, March 11, 2015
By Stephen Kurkjian

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"Boston's lost art"

Thieves stole the Gardner paintings 25 years ago; the city’s leaders could help get them back
The Boston Globe, Sunday, March 8, 2015
By Stephen Kurkjian

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Stephen Kurkjian’s
‘Master Thieves’

The story behind the book
The Boston Globe, Saturday, March 7, 2015
By Kate Tuttle

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