Books NF BIO The Writing Master: The Story of the Gentleman-Thief and Forger, James B. Crosse

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The Writing Master:
The Story of the Gentleman-Thief and Forger, James B. Crosse

by Jerry Kuntz - @JParKuntz

Published March 15, 2019
Belatedly Launched on CWT on 8/8/2019


The Writing Master reveals, for the first time, the career of a nineteenth-century criminal mastermind, James B. Crosse. New research demonstrates that Crosse committed many crimes under undetected aliases: store break-ins, bank robberies, Wall Street stock forgeries, counterfeiting conspiracies, etc. His career revolved around a female blackmailer who matched his capacity for deceit and cunning, Jane Fleming.

For several years, his accomplice was a mixed-race slave, Bob Burwell, whom some observers believed to be craftier than Crosse himself. In many respects, Crosse appears to have modeled himself after the shape-shifting huckster figure of Herman Melville’s The Confidence Man.

The Writing Master is a true crime story, introducing readers to a figure as ingenious as the fictional Professor Moriarty and as charming as Raffles the Amateur Cracksman. Along the way, Crosse and Fleming encountered the great detectives who pursued them; colorful rogues and thieves; and historical figures such as President Andrew Johnson and the great villain of the age, John Wilkes Booth.

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