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The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft

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“The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft,” The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser is a fascinating account of a brazen and amazing criminal act—a book that could help police and investigators solve the mystery of the 1990 break-in and burglary at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “A tantalizing whodunit” (Boston Globe) and a “riveting, wonderfully vivid “The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft,” The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser is a fascinating account of a brazen and amazing criminal act—a book that could help police and investigators solve the mystery of the 1990 break-in and burglary at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “A tantalizing whodunit” (Boston Globe) and a “riveting, wonderfully vivid account [that] takes you into the underworld of obsessed art detectives, con men, and thieves” (Jonathan Harr, author of The Lost Painting), The Gardner Heist is true crime history at its most spellbinding.


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“The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft,” The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser is a fascinating account of a brazen and amazing criminal act—a book that could help police and investigators solve the mystery of the 1990 break-in and burglary at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “A tantalizing whodunit” (Boston Globe) and a “riveting, wonderfully vivid “The True Story of the World’s Largest Unsolved Art Theft,” The Gardner Heist by Ulrich Boser is a fascinating account of a brazen and amazing criminal act—a book that could help police and investigators solve the mystery of the 1990 break-in and burglary at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. “A tantalizing whodunit” (Boston Globe) and a “riveting, wonderfully vivid account [that] takes you into the underworld of obsessed art detectives, con men, and thieves” (Jonathan Harr, author of The Lost Painting), The Gardner Heist is true crime history at its most spellbinding.

30 review for The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    How to write a book when nobody got caught! This was all about a journalist who thought he would find out who really did the Gardner art theft after many professionals were unable to. There really wasn’t enough material for a book. I did walk away, however, with an interest to visit the Gardner Museum in the near future! What is really sad is the thought that the stolen art work may have been destroyed and / or will never be recovered. Hopefully that isn’t the case. 3 out of 5 Stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

    I love art and museums and work at one, but my interest in the subject could not make me like this book more. I struggled to finish it. The author made an investigation in which he did discover who probably stole the art into a much longer book than it should have been by explaining many of his false leads and trips down the rabbit hole.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ulrich

    I'm the author of this book and thus ill-suited to write a review. That said, I do think the book is a good, engaging read, and reviewers have been agreeing with me. “Boser has produced a captivating portrait of the world's biggest unsolved art theft,” noted the Wall Street Journal. “Boser cracks the cold case of the art world’s greatest unsolved mystery,” said Vanity Fair. And the Boston Globe noted that "In The Gardner Heist, author Ulrich Boser offers a tantalizing whodunit as he embarks on a I'm the author of this book and thus ill-suited to write a review. That said, I do think the book is a good, engaging read, and reviewers have been agreeing with me. “Boser has produced a captivating portrait of the world's biggest unsolved art theft,” noted the Wall Street Journal. “Boser cracks the cold case of the art world’s greatest unsolved mystery,” said Vanity Fair. And the Boston Globe noted that "In The Gardner Heist, author Ulrich Boser offers a tantalizing whodunit as he embarks on an exhaustive search for the stolen masterpieces.” So give book a read--and tell me what you think.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelli

    Having visited the Gardner a few times last year, this book really appealed to me before I even started it. The theft occurred the weekend before my 21st birthday, when I was a college student. I wish I had paid more attention to it then because it is fascinating. Last year as I stood with my 6 year old looking at the empty frames in the Dutch room, she asked quite innocently why they had been stolen, who took them and why hadn't they been found yet? If we only knew. This book was a fascinating w Having visited the Gardner a few times last year, this book really appealed to me before I even started it. The theft occurred the weekend before my 21st birthday, when I was a college student. I wish I had paid more attention to it then because it is fascinating. Last year as I stood with my 6 year old looking at the empty frames in the Dutch room, she asked quite innocently why they had been stolen, who took them and why hadn't they been found yet? If we only knew. This book was a fascinating whodunit with a cast of characters that seemed to go on forever. I learned more than I probably wanted to know about the local underworld. I was shocked by the number of art thefts that occur in general, the lack of museum security even today and the brazenness of art thieves. Most interesting to me was the way this mystery seemed to consume people, steal their lives and hijack their dreams. It was compelling. Unless I am mistaken, there was one fact that seemed small and was mentioned just once and that was the fact that motion detectors indicated that one of the guards was the last person in the Blue room on his nightly rounds. Had he stolen the painting from that room? I'm not sure any other explanation makes sense, yet it was a tiny blurb in the midst of many suspects and facts reviewed. I loved this book! Highly recommend.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    I was really looking forward to reading this, as art heists fascinate me and I'm love with Boston, but it didn't live up to my expectations. It started off excellent, but soon became boring and a little strange. It starts by discussing the heist but quickly turns into an account of the author trying to solve this unsolved crime. While some of the events are interesting, most are just accounts of interviews the author conducted that don't really lead anywhere or accounts of the author's random tr I was really looking forward to reading this, as art heists fascinate me and I'm love with Boston, but it didn't live up to my expectations. It started off excellent, but soon became boring and a little strange. It starts by discussing the heist but quickly turns into an account of the author trying to solve this unsolved crime. While some of the events are interesting, most are just accounts of interviews the author conducted that don't really lead anywhere or accounts of the author's random travels to solve the mystery. The book jacket is also misleading, as this case is still unsolved and the summary reads that the author "uncovers the identities of the men who robbed the museum." The author names two people he believes were behind the crime, but he has no real proof. Overall, I didn't hate this book, but it was not what I was expecting it to be.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Barrow Wilfong

    Isabella Stewart Gardner was a wealthy Bostonian who spent liberally on priceless works of art. Eventually she built a museum to house them and it opened in 1904. In 1990 two men dressed as policemen demanded to be let into the Isabelle Stewart Gardner museum. Against instructions, the security guard let the policemen in. The men lured the young man away from the panic button that would have notified police and called the other guard down. They then hog-tied the two of them with duct taped and ha Isabella Stewart Gardner was a wealthy Bostonian who spent liberally on priceless works of art. Eventually she built a museum to house them and it opened in 1904. In 1990 two men dressed as policemen demanded to be let into the Isabelle Stewart Gardner museum. Against instructions, the security guard let the policemen in. The men lured the young man away from the panic button that would have notified police and called the other guard down. They then hog-tied the two of them with duct taped and hand-cuffed them to pipes in the cellar. The men raided the museum, making off with a Vermeer, Rembrandt, a couple of sketches by Degas, Manet and Titan as well as some others. Although there have been a number of suspects, no one has been convicted of the theft and the art, to this date, has never been recovered. Ulrich Boser does a thorough job tracing the crime and providing several clues as to who stole the art. He starts with biographical information of Mrs. Gardner, how she acquired her art and built the museum. He also gives a brief history of the individual pieces that were stolen. But what makes this book as suspenseful as any spy novel, is the chase Boser engages in to track down the culprits. Boser inherits the case from Harold Smith, a man renowned for finding lost or stolen works of art. When Smith died of cancer in 2004, Boser collected his information and took on the mantle. His investigation took him on a seamy journey through the underworld of organized crime and terrorist organizations. After four years, Boser offers his conclusions as to who he thinks stole the paintings and his argument is persuasive. Whoever it was, we learn how and why art gets stolen in the first place and it is never because some big underworld boss, a Dr. No sort, is looking to add to his collection of stolen artworks. Mostly it is organized crime and other criminals who steal the art to use as bargaining chips to reduce a prison sentence, or to negotiate deals with other crime bosses and terrorist organizations. Unlike Sherlock Holmes, Columbo or Hercule Poirot, who work mostly solo as they put together a series of clues and solve the crime, real-life investigators rely heavily on informants. These informants tell what they know in order to rat out a competitive crime gang, or to reduce their prison sentence, or get immunity from any kind of sentencing. Sometimes they just want to be an important person. Unfortunately, there are a lot of cranks who pose as informants for the same motives. These "false witnesses" wasted a lot of Busor's time by causing him to chase dead ends. But it's a dangerous game. Many key informants in this book end up murdered. It is even possible that the original thieves have since been murdered. It is disheartening to see how many deadly criminals have been granted immunity because of their willingness to cut-throat other criminals. There is one particularly hair raising case where a Crime Boss worked with an FBI agent to get all of his competition behind bars and then took over their turf and businesses while enjoying the immunity granted to him by the agent. Another disheartening fact is lawyers who make careers out of getting criminals off the hook. One of the primary suspects for the Gardner Heist was a known criminal in organized crime, committing all sorts of murders, and robberies only to get off due to the expert handling of his attorney. Who was his lawyer? John Kerry. In fact there is more than one politician listed in the book with connections to organized crime. A scary thought.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Annie

    Ughhh I cannot tell you if most people would like this book but I loved it so much I was rereading every chapter as I went, just to experience it twice. I love Boser's way of romanticizing everything. I loved the character painted of Isabella Stewart Gardner. I loved the way he characterizes suspects, informants, and everyone else who comes up in the book. I love the way he makes it feel like the heist happened yesterday. There is literally nothing I don't love about this book. Also, fun fact, th Ughhh I cannot tell you if most people would like this book but I loved it so much I was rereading every chapter as I went, just to experience it twice. I love Boser's way of romanticizing everything. I loved the character painted of Isabella Stewart Gardner. I loved the way he characterizes suspects, informants, and everyone else who comes up in the book. I love the way he makes it feel like the heist happened yesterday. There is literally nothing I don't love about this book. Also, fun fact, this book came out in 2008 originally, but I did some Googling for updates. -Major suspect Turner is now behind bars for a long time. However, he got his sentence reduced by 7 years mysteriously- did he offer to trad info on the paintings to the government? Did anything come of it? -FBI said in 2013 they know who did it, and they're both dead, but won't tell us who. Am skeptical af. -Just last month, coincidentally, May of 2017, the museum offered a doubling of its reward- from 5 million to 10 million- offer lasting until December of this year. If you have the paintings, GR friends, here's your chance. No statute of limitations, full immunity, come on guys. Let's give them back to the public. Ugh. Time for a trip to the ISG. <3

  8. 4 out of 5

    Patricia Lane

    I have been marking this book up as I read it due to the plethora of inaccuracies, bad writing and dumb things the author did while he was "on the case"! Examples: 1) saying that the thieves were a mere 100 feet away from Titian's Europa when they were stealing the Degas sketches and the finial. The Degas sketches and finial were on the second floor, Europa is on the third, so yeah, 100 feet away through the floor! 2)A ranch style house is a "ranch house", not a "rancher"! 3) Boser drove aimless I have been marking this book up as I read it due to the plethora of inaccuracies, bad writing and dumb things the author did while he was "on the case"! Examples: 1) saying that the thieves were a mere 100 feet away from Titian's Europa when they were stealing the Degas sketches and the finial. The Degas sketches and finial were on the second floor, Europa is on the third, so yeah, 100 feet away through the floor! 2)A ranch style house is a "ranch house", not a "rancher"! 3) Boser drove aimlessly around the coast of Ireland looking for Whitey Bulger in bars and on beachfronts. Oh please! Etc. etc. Anthony Amore, the security director at the Gardner, has basically said that the book is crap. There are some redeeming moments but most of these are rehashes of material from other sources. It is interesting to me that the book was blurbed by Noah Charney, the author of the fiction book The Art Thief. (See my review). I find both authors to be okay writers who seem wildly impressed with themselves and consider themselves experts even though it is not apparent that anyone else does. Still, this will remain on my shelf due to the subject matter.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jill Meyer

    Another reviewer of this book gave it four stars because he thought the ending was inconclusive - the paintings stolen in 1990 have never been found. Well, that is the fact, and if this book could only end with the recovery, then it wouldn't/couldn't have been written. Boser writes a very readable tale of art, both purchased and stolen, and the personalities who came together - over a period of about 150 years - to make the Gardner heist the world's largest theft. He writes about the paintings an Another reviewer of this book gave it four stars because he thought the ending was inconclusive - the paintings stolen in 1990 have never been found. Well, that is the fact, and if this book could only end with the recovery, then it wouldn't/couldn't have been written. Boser writes a very readable tale of art, both purchased and stolen, and the personalities who came together - over a period of about 150 years - to make the Gardner heist the world's largest theft. He writes about the paintings and their provenance and how Isabella Stewart Gardner - an outsized personality - came to collect her art and put together her highly idiosyncratic museum. He writes about the search - ongoing for the past 20 years - to recover the masterpieces and the men and women, who were both victims and perpetrators of the crime. I enjoyed the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McPhedran

    This is the story of one of the worlds largest unsolved art theft. The Isabella Stuart Gardner museum was broken into on St. Patrick's day in 1990. To this day, the art has never been recovered and no one has been formally charged with the theft. Paintings worth millions of dollars were stolen that night, and it's like they disappeared. Ulrich Boser is obsessed, like many before him, with finding the paintings. A long list of Boston underworld kingpins are implicated, but none are charged. Boser This is the story of one of the worlds largest unsolved art theft. The Isabella Stuart Gardner museum was broken into on St. Patrick's day in 1990. To this day, the art has never been recovered and no one has been formally charged with the theft. Paintings worth millions of dollars were stolen that night, and it's like they disappeared. Ulrich Boser is obsessed, like many before him, with finding the paintings. A long list of Boston underworld kingpins are implicated, but none are charged. Boser travelled all over the world pursuing leads. At one point, he traveled to Ireland, thinking he himself could catch infamous crime boss, Whitey Bulger. A story that will keep you guessing, and one with no solid ending. The Gardner Heist is a well researched book, that shows some people are ruthless when it comes to art. And some mysteries are yet to be solved.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I was really torn on how to review this because I learned a lot of unexpected history from this book such as the history of Isabella Gardner, how she acquired her money, she seems like such an interesting character, how the crime occurred, why the frames remain empty, and why the masterpieces are likely ruined. I learned about why art gets stolen in the first place. I learned a lot about organized crime in Boston; now I’m paranoid since I just moved here. The lengths journalists must go thru to I was really torn on how to review this because I learned a lot of unexpected history from this book such as the history of Isabella Gardner, how she acquired her money, she seems like such an interesting character, how the crime occurred, why the frames remain empty, and why the masterpieces are likely ruined. I learned about why art gets stolen in the first place. I learned a lot about organized crime in Boston; now I’m paranoid since I just moved here. The lengths journalists must go thru to tell a story and the years it takes to do so. The art itself, how delicate it is, how they are preserved and restored was all fascinating. But, it took me 8 days to finish. The first part of the book was captivating, then towards the middle of the book, I was falling asleep every time I started reading. The style of writing changed mid-way and it lost me in the details. I’m glad I read it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeimy

    I knew nothing about the Gardner Heist before reading this book, but I enjoyed the narrative Boser wove.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leo

    So, we learned nothing, but you know. That's life. So, we learned nothing, but you know. That's life.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Lutkins

    3.5/5 stars. The Gardner Museum Heist is a captivating mystery that has haunted my mind ever since I learned about it. I want to help detectives solve it. I desire more information, any information at all. This book did a fantastic job at presenting details of the mystery. However, I was expecting more of a timeline that showed new and exciting discoveries, especially after the author seemed to have done so much work for the investigation. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining read that made me f 3.5/5 stars. The Gardner Museum Heist is a captivating mystery that has haunted my mind ever since I learned about it. I want to help detectives solve it. I desire more information, any information at all. This book did a fantastic job at presenting details of the mystery. However, I was expecting more of a timeline that showed new and exciting discoveries, especially after the author seemed to have done so much work for the investigation. Nevertheless, it was an entertaining read that made me fall more in love with Boston and its rich history. One more thing: I would’ve loved to see more modern political commentary on the (inflated) trade of art and giving invaluable artworks objective prices. It seems like the author was reaching these points in some chapters, but no substance was achieved.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pamela (Here to Read Books and Chew Gum)

    There are some interesting moments here, but it focuses too much on the things that didn't happen, rather the things that did. I'm fascinated by art history, and art theft especially, but this was a little too tangential, with some pretty vague claims. There are some interesting moments here, but it focuses too much on the things that didn't happen, rather the things that did. I'm fascinated by art history, and art theft especially, but this was a little too tangential, with some pretty vague claims.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Really enjoyed the book. I read everything I can about art heists, and as many people know, the Gardner one was one of the largest and most devastating in many years. I think I settled on 4 rather than 5 stars for two little reasons. First, I was intrigued by the author's confession to having become a little obsessed with the case, and among people who study it, that is entirely fair. So it seemed fitting that there would be more narrative about the unfolding of his obsession. Not that I wanted Really enjoyed the book. I read everything I can about art heists, and as many people know, the Gardner one was one of the largest and most devastating in many years. I think I settled on 4 rather than 5 stars for two little reasons. First, I was intrigued by the author's confession to having become a little obsessed with the case, and among people who study it, that is entirely fair. So it seemed fitting that there would be more narrative about the unfolding of his obsession. Not that I wanted the book to be about him, necessarily, but a little more accompanying narrative would have been interesting. I did appreciate the end chapters where he acknowledges, hey, this study has to stop sometime. All in all this is a minor point, as I recognize that he was doing investigative journalism and the case is what's important. Secondly, given the many, many suspects in the case, and his and Amore's need to create databases to manage all the suspects and leads, I could have used a table or some sort of appendix just sorting it all out visually. This would have been difficult given the amount of data, but perhaps a chart of the most significant data would help. I read an interview with the author indicating he had more narrative/information to share about both Smith's account of the Golden Door heist and Detective Charlie Hill. I, too, wish there'd been room to include that content in The Gardner Heist. I do understand why some material has to hit the cutting room floor, so to speak.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Several iconic paintings were stolen from the Gardner Museum in 1990 and they've never been recovered nor the perpetrators caught. At least they were not caught for this crime. I still can't quite get past the thieves cutting the paintings from their frames! Dang it if you're gonna heist something beautiful at least treat it with respect. I'd always assumed art was well protected and that when it was stolen it was stolen for or by someone who craved and treasured it. Boser says this is not true. Several iconic paintings were stolen from the Gardner Museum in 1990 and they've never been recovered nor the perpetrators caught. At least they were not caught for this crime. I still can't quite get past the thieves cutting the paintings from their frames! Dang it if you're gonna heist something beautiful at least treat it with respect. I'd always assumed art was well protected and that when it was stolen it was stolen for or by someone who craved and treasured it. Boser says this is not true. Until recently museums did not have the funds or maybe even inclination to guard their works with state of the art security measures. Also, often the underworld, not art connoisseurs, steal it and they do so to use as currency to buy arms or drugs. I also suppose they don't know how to store it properly. The Gardner art was easy to steal but it hasn't been easy to catch the thieves. Many people, both law officials and independents, tracked down many leads. In fact there are so many suspects that it's hard to keep all the players straight. For all I know you and I are also suspects and I'm not 100% certain you're in the clear. For the most part Boser does a good job of explaining the evidence. It feels petty to mention this but there are a disconcerting number of typos in this book.....words left out or words stuck in that don't belong. It was distracting. I enjoyed the last chapter where Boser speculates and tries to make sense of this crime. What a loss that the Vermeer and the Rembrandt's have been lost possibly for good.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sandy

    Taking a painting is theft; recovering that painting is another story. It is theatre. On St. Patrick's Day night in 1990, two robbers stole famous, priceless works of art from the Gardner Museum in Boston. The author is a journalist; Harold Smith, the independent fine arts claims adjuster (aka art detective) he interviewed was unsucessful in the recovery of stolen art if you look at the number (15%) but then all other art detective's success rates is only 5%. The vast number of unrecovered stole Taking a painting is theft; recovering that painting is another story. It is theatre. On St. Patrick's Day night in 1990, two robbers stole famous, priceless works of art from the Gardner Museum in Boston. The author is a journalist; Harold Smith, the independent fine arts claims adjuster (aka art detective) he interviewed was unsucessful in the recovery of stolen art if you look at the number (15%) but then all other art detective's success rates is only 5%. The vast number of unrecovered stolen works of art "would fill a musuem with the most impressive collection ever created...A gallery of stolen art would make the Louvre seem like a small-town art gallery in comparison." The loss of a piece of art is unique because it transcends the replaceable items usually associated with insurance claims. Art is about emotional bonds with viewers and money becomes irrelevant. The drive to recover lost works of art is compelling; the author picked up the threads of the case when Harold Smith died shortly after his interview and became deeply involved in trying to solve the mystery of the loss of the works of art from the Gardner Museum theft. It was an obsession; it was addictive. I was hooked from the first pages and found myself hoping that someone would be successful in recovering even one piece from the robbery even though the title clearly states "largest, unsolved art theft." I like detective stories and this was one of the most unusual I have read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Simply for reading interest--I'd give it four stars--it's a fascinating story of stolen art, the seedy Boston underworld, lovely museums with lousy security systems, a sweet art detective, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Vermeer, and Rembrandt. Boser generally tells the story well despite the fact that it's difficult to keep track of all the potential thieves (Boston gangsters, shady lawyers, and art dealers) but the reason why I finally gave it three stars rather than four was for the sometimes distr Simply for reading interest--I'd give it four stars--it's a fascinating story of stolen art, the seedy Boston underworld, lovely museums with lousy security systems, a sweet art detective, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Vermeer, and Rembrandt. Boser generally tells the story well despite the fact that it's difficult to keep track of all the potential thieves (Boston gangsters, shady lawyers, and art dealers) but the reason why I finally gave it three stars rather than four was for the sometimes distracting ways the author inserts himself into the narrative. For example, in one chapter he creates a fictional character with whom he converses for several pages; later on he becomes so obsessed that he travels to Ireland in his own private search for Whitey Bulger (as if!). The book ends on a hopeful note but those sad empty frames still grace the Gardner's walls and after reading about the ineptness of the thieves it's very hard to imagine any of the paintings coming home safely. I'm looking forward to watching "Stolen" again--I remember it as both fascinating and strange.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Naz

    I'm pretty much the prime audience for this book: from Boston, in love with the Gardner, and very interested in Boston's organised crime scene. I really enjoyed all the different angles the author pursued and explained, but thought the end of the book fell flat for three reasons: 1. He goes to Ireland to find Whitey Bulger. Seriously? I actually laughed out loud at that. 2. The imagined conversation with interviewee 'G' that controls the art (or at least, is connected to people that do) was tediou I'm pretty much the prime audience for this book: from Boston, in love with the Gardner, and very interested in Boston's organised crime scene. I really enjoyed all the different angles the author pursued and explained, but thought the end of the book fell flat for three reasons: 1. He goes to Ireland to find Whitey Bulger. Seriously? I actually laughed out loud at that. 2. The imagined conversation with interviewee 'G' that controls the art (or at least, is connected to people that do) was tedious and unnecessary. 3. I found the section naming David Turner and George Reissfelder as the thieves kind of anti-climactic. We learned a fair amount about Turner but next to nothing on Reissfelder. Despite the lackluster final chapters, I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone with an interest in art and/or art theft.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gail Klein

    This is true story of the largest art theft in history at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in March of 1990. They stole dozens of masterpieces worth as much as $500 million. After thousands of leads and a reward of $50 million, the case remains unsolved and the art unreturned to their empty frames hanging on the walls. After the death of renowned art detective, Harold Smith, the author takes over the case. Following many of Smith's unfinished leads, Ulrich Boser becomes obsessed with This is true story of the largest art theft in history at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston in March of 1990. They stole dozens of masterpieces worth as much as $500 million. After thousands of leads and a reward of $50 million, the case remains unsolved and the art unreturned to their empty frames hanging on the walls. After the death of renowned art detective, Harold Smith, the author takes over the case. Following many of Smith's unfinished leads, Ulrich Boser becomes obsessed with the case and uncovers some startling new evidence about the identities of the thieves. I found the story of the museum itself and the artwork fascinating. After awhile however, I found all the names of the different suspects and thieves confusing.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jsarno49

    This is a fascinating account of the famed art theft which took place at the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. Boser, a journalist, offers a thorough examination of the insurance inspectors, the suspects, the Boston underworld, and the IRA connection. Consumed by the mystery and desire to return the works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas to the museum, Boser explores all avenues and offers feasible explanations, but with no positive results. This book certainly opened my eyes to the sordidness a This is a fascinating account of the famed art theft which took place at the Gardner Museum in Boston in 1990. Boser, a journalist, offers a thorough examination of the insurance inspectors, the suspects, the Boston underworld, and the IRA connection. Consumed by the mystery and desire to return the works by Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Degas to the museum, Boser explores all avenues and offers feasible explanations, but with no positive results. This book certainly opened my eyes to the sordidness and greed that exists in the world of art.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    This is the story of a man who was fascianted by the robbery at the Gardner museum and his almost obsessive pursuit of leads trying to solve the crime and get the art back. He details all sorts of leads and lies, and basically never solves the crime. Hopefully the art is still out there and will turn up someday. I found the book a bit slow and meandering at times

  24. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    After visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with my daughters, I decided that I wanted to read Ulrich Boser's book entitled "The Gardner Heist". Interesting read. Sure hope they solve this heist soon. Looks like they know who pulled the heist, but not where the art can be found. After visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum with my daughters, I decided that I wanted to read Ulrich Boser's book entitled "The Gardner Heist". Interesting read. Sure hope they solve this heist soon. Looks like they know who pulled the heist, but not where the art can be found.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Akkire55

    I've been to the Gardner museum, I've seen the empty frames, but they will never appear as just empty frames of cloth to me again after reading this non-fiction tale of the most famous art crime. I've been to the Gardner museum, I've seen the empty frames, but they will never appear as just empty frames of cloth to me again after reading this non-fiction tale of the most famous art crime.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kirsti

    To me, the most shocking part was when the investigator's nose fell off. (Skin cancer is a horrible thing. And if you ever have to have your nose removed, don't order the soup. It will loosen the glue on your artificial nose.) My favorite part was learning that Isabella Stewart Gardner once caused a scandal by wearing a headband with OH YOU RED SOX printed on it while attending the symphony. It was interesting learning more about her and her life. I knew the author wouldn't solve the case—the word To me, the most shocking part was when the investigator's nose fell off. (Skin cancer is a horrible thing. And if you ever have to have your nose removed, don't order the soup. It will loosen the glue on your artificial nose.) My favorite part was learning that Isabella Stewart Gardner once caused a scandal by wearing a headband with OH YOU RED SOX printed on it while attending the symphony. It was interesting learning more about her and her life. I knew the author wouldn't solve the case—the word "unsolved" is right there in the subtitle. But it was extremely tedious to read about his interviews with so many con artists and flimflam men, each insisting that he knew who the thieves were and where the art was. All of that was bullshit.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Irene O'Hare

    I read this because I've always been fascinated by Isabella Stewart Gardner and the museum she founded and I wanted to learn more about the heist. It was a interesting book with a lot of detail. It got a bit dry and confusing at times but that's make sense for such a convoluted case. Overall, I think Boser did a good job and he managed to peak my interest in Harold Smith, the art insurance adjuster / detective. A biography of him or a book of his case files sounds fascinating. The book is a litt I read this because I've always been fascinated by Isabella Stewart Gardner and the museum she founded and I wanted to learn more about the heist. It was a interesting book with a lot of detail. It got a bit dry and confusing at times but that's make sense for such a convoluted case. Overall, I think Boser did a good job and he managed to peak my interest in Harold Smith, the art insurance adjuster / detective. A biography of him or a book of his case files sounds fascinating. The book is a little bit out of date as there has been some news on the investigation since 2010. The WBEZ podcast Last Seen is currently covering the case and uses a lot of Boser's legwork.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book is worth the read if only for the abundance of insights into the facts surrounding the heist. It is slightly anti-climactic that the heist is never solved, but you know that before you begin so its not a terrible disappointment. Boser is an engaging writer and does a very good job of walking the reader through a great deal of complexities, although I did find his daydreams of G and visions of the paintings at the end to be written in a transparent effort to tie up loose ends that could This book is worth the read if only for the abundance of insights into the facts surrounding the heist. It is slightly anti-climactic that the heist is never solved, but you know that before you begin so its not a terrible disappointment. Boser is an engaging writer and does a very good job of walking the reader through a great deal of complexities, although I did find his daydreams of G and visions of the paintings at the end to be written in a transparent effort to tie up loose ends that couldn’t be tied up with the (lack of) facts.

  29. 5 out of 5

    beni

    this book is really just an ode to the way men obsess and try to find meaning from their obsessing. clearly this guy stumbled into this case and genuinely believed, in what can only be described as a baffling display of male hubris, that he singlehandedly could solve it, with no detective training or inside angle. you can tell he really thought he would become a hero. but he pretty much got nowhere. at one point, he just walked around a random towns in ireland looking at people to see if he coul this book is really just an ode to the way men obsess and try to find meaning from their obsessing. clearly this guy stumbled into this case and genuinely believed, in what can only be described as a baffling display of male hubris, that he singlehandedly could solve it, with no detective training or inside angle. you can tell he really thought he would become a hero. but he pretty much got nowhere. at one point, he just walked around a random towns in ireland looking at people to see if he could spot whitey bulger just casually walking along the street. (he could not). anyway it pretty much ends with him going "i got pretty obsessed with this, but my wife and i were having a baby so i quit to return to normal but man those paintings are pretty." the overdramatic he earnestly uses to describe deeply uninteresting details can be pretty entertaining, but (to quote my favorite-ever book review) it "stops being funny when you realize just how long it is."

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was a quick, fascinating read about the infamous heist of the Garner Museum in Boston. I visited once and saw the empty frames and have always been intrigued to learn more about the art and the investigation. This book detailed just that! I learned a lot about art heists in general too.... I never knew the Mona Lisa had been stolen and had no idea that art thefts happen so frequently. Read this book if you have any interest in crime, art or Boston mobster history!

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