Sunday, July 03, 2005


This Week in Literary Crime

The AP wire reports that someone has finally found a use for Ed Klein's book: "A 73-year-old San Diego woman fought off a man who tried to steal her dog by beating him with a bag of books and kicking him in the groin, police said."

Ok, so they don't identify what books were in the bag. (What gives, AP? And where's the quote from the bemused author? Sheesh. ) But hey, I'll bet the kick in the groin was still better than close exposure to The Truth About Hillary.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports the chief curator at France's Bibliotheque Nationale has retracted his earlier confession to being complicit in the disappearance of rare manuscripts from the library.

Mr Garel has been placed under formal investigation, one step short of being charged, in connection with the theft of a document known as Manuscript 52, a copy of the first five books of the Bible that was produced in France in about 1250 and bound in Italy in the 15th century. The work was offered in a sale of rare manuscripts at Christie's auction house in New York in 2004, and a wealthy but unidentified Anglo-Israeli collector and dealer living in London has reportedly told French police that Mr Garel sold it to him in 2000 for €80,000 (£53,000), as part of series of purchases totalling some €500,000. Mr Garel had admitted stealing and selling the manuscript, but yesterday retracted his confession, saying he had owned up to a crime he did not commit because it was "the only way to avoid being thrown into prison".

Yes, yes, I see. That is quite a brilliant legal strategy, Monsieur Garel!

Finally, The Age of Melbourne reports a thoroughly pie-eyed suspect arrested shortly after a smash-and-grab theft at a rare bookshop can't find the books:

The Collingwood man, 43, has told police he does not remember what happened to the books, some more than three centuries old. They were valued at more than $10,000. Police say the man - who was drunk and who splattered blood throughout the store after cutting himself on the window - smashed a glass cabinet at the back of the store before gathering the books into a cardboard box and fleeing.

The article goes on to quote a store employee sniffing that the lacerated and inebriated gentleman obviously had "no taste in books"....

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