This Is a Robbery!

No, it isn’t. It’s a Book Valet post! But I have been watching “This is a Robbery” on Netflix. The four-part limited series chronicles one of the most famous art heists in history from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Paintings from Vermeer, Rembrandt, Degas, Manet, all gone.  Despite knowing (spoiler alert (this shouldn’t be a spoiler alert, folks)) that they don’t recover the art, it is a fascinating tale of crime, corruption, and characters aplenty. If you are interested in the stolen art, the art heist itself and more, here are some related recommendations. 

Master Thieves – Stephe A. Kurkjian worked for the Boston Globe and was one of the most expert reporters to cover the Gardner Museum case. He takes his reporting over the years and presents it in Master Thieves: The Boston Gangsters Who Pulled Off the World’s Greatest Art Heist. His investigation flows through the mysterious underworld of Boston’s organized crime. It’s the most complete account to date of the who, when, why, and where the art might be now. Kurkjian also appears in the Netflix documentary series and gives great detail to a flummoxing case that has vexed experts for decades. 

The Art Forger – The Gardener heist is the backdrop for this mystery/thriller/romance novel by B. A. Shapiro. Claire Roth makes her living painting reproductions for an online retailer. When Aiden Markel, an influential art dealer, asks Claire to reproduce one of the Degas stolen from the Gardner, she makes a Faustian bargain in exchange for an art show in his gallery. During her work she discovers that the stolen Degas is itself a forgery. Claire wrestles with a complicated past relationship and current entanglements with the law. Her discovery might be the thing that saves her. This is a well-researched, suspenseful, and intricately plotted novel that will immerse you in some of the darker aspects of the art world. 

And my final recommendation is to… go to the museum! Located just a walk away from the Fine Arts Museum in Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner is like no other. Built in the style of a 15th-century Venetian palace, the Gardner houses American, European, and Asian art. The arrangements of the art and the feeling of viewing someone’s personal art collection gives the museum an intimacy that you can’t get at the big art museums. It’s a truly unique place. Book a discounted museum pass through Howe Library. (Hot tip: Do not steal the art!) 

-Mike M.

P. S. Check out all the Isabella Stewart Gardner related materials from Howe Library through our online catalog.


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