The Unreliable Life of Harry the Valet
The Great Victorian Jewel Thief
Date of publication: May 2012
In October 1898, on route to Paris' Gare du Nord station, the Dowager Duchess of Sutherland's jewels were stolen from her train carriage. More than 40 pieces, worth nearly GBP2m today, disappeared that night and the perpetrator along with them. It would become one of the most widely reported heists of the late Victorian era, but what no one knew was that the man who committed this most daring and well planned theft had already committed nine almost identical crimes.
A man who wore bespoke suits and handmade shoes; who used a dozen pseudonyms to dust over his tracks; who belonged to three smart London clubs and lived in the luxury of West End hotels; whose staple diet was champagne and whisky; who was pursued by London's top detectives for five and a half years and - by their own admission - 'proved smarter' than them; and, who fell so much in love with a women who he would steal for and lie for but who would eventually betray him. The true story of the most notorious Victorian Jewel thief, "The Unreliable Life of Harry the Valet" has all the hallmarks of the finest detective fiction, but has romance at its heart and a love story which endured on Harry's part for the rest of his life, despite ultimately destroying him.