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.
Since Publication of "Master Thieves"
In the three years since publication Steve has spoken about the book and the theft at an estimated 200 sites including museums, national sites, libraries and community city centers, as well as participated in a podcast with WBUR. In addition Sony Pictures/TriStar has purchased the rights to the book and hired director Jose Padilha to make a film based on the story.
"Engrossing real-life crime story.”
“Steve Kurkjian is the best reporter in America.”
“In Master Thieves, master reporter Steve Kurkjian tackles one of the world’s great unsolved mysteries—the 1990 Gardner Museum art heist in Boston—and leaves the reader feeling like he’s cracked the case. This book has the grit and intelligence of a lifelong gangster and the high tension of a midnight caper.”
“A gripping, revelatory book. Master Thieves is not only a thrilling heist story but a feat of investigative reporting. The kind of book you can only write if you’ve lived with a story for 20 years.”
What makes Kurkjian’s book so gripping is precisely (this): an accomplished investigator's sense of open-minded humility.
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.
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.