The greatest untold crime saga of the Victorian Era: the extraordinary true story of four American forgers who tried to steal five million dollars from the Bank of England.
In the summer of 1873, four American forgers went on trial at the Old Bailey — London’s iconic law court — for the greatest fraud the world had ever seen. The attempted crime: stealing five million dollars from the Bank of England from under the noses of its unsuspecting officials. In The Thieves of Threadneedle Street, Nicholas Booth tells the extraordinary true story of the forgers' earliest escapades in Chicago, Louisville, and Manhattan, culminating with the heist at the world’s leading financial institution, the Bank of England. At the heart of the story is the charming criminal genius Austin Bidwell who, on the brink of escaping with his fortune, saw his luck finally run out.
They were apprehended after a manhunt across three continents. There were double crosses and miraculous escapes. There were chases across rural Ireland, through Scottish cities, across the Atlantic on ships heading toward Manhattan and — most exotic of all — Cuba, where the most elusive thief would eventually be captured, only to escape again. Hot on their trail was William Pinkerton, “the greatest detective in America,” scion of the famous detective agency.
With its cast of improbable villains, curious coincidences, and extraordinary adventures, it is an astounding international caper with twists and turns that often defy belief. It includes a colorful cast of supporting characters — crooked policemen, corrupt officials, bribable warders, and love interests of varying hues of respectability: femme fatales, innocent lovers, hookers, and dupes. With access to previously unopened archives, Nicholas Booth has unearthed the greatest untold crime saga of the Victorian Era.