Isabella Stewart Gardner: 5 books about the world's most audacious art theft

It was 1:24 a.m. on the morning of March 18, 1990, when a pair of thieves disguised as Boston police officers talked their way into the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. When they left 81 minutes later, they had committed one of the largest and most outrageous thefts in all of art history. The 13 stolen works were of incalculable value and included three paintings by Rembrandt, one by Vermeer, one by Manet, and five by Degas. Here are five books – nonfiction and fiction – inspired by the notorious theft.

1. "The Gardner Heist," by Ulrich Boser


Journalist Ulrich Boser conducted more than 200 interviews and traveled to four countries and a dozen states (crossing that “thin, Rubiconic line between passion and obsession,” he confesses) in his research for The Gardner Heist. Boser's concise, gripping book lays out the essentials of the Gardner case and the decades of fruitless searching that followed. "Boser deftly steers readers through a cast of characters ranging from the highest of brow (museum curators and art experts) to the lowest imaginable (thuggish, bottom-feeding gangsters)," wrote Monitor Books editor Marjorie Kehe in her 2009 review of the book. But read this one at your own peril: as a former art fence once warned: “[The Gardner case] is more addictive than crack.”

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