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The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo

The incredible true story of Charles Deville Wells, gambler and fraudster extraordinaire.

Now available in paperback. Includes newly discovered material and an extra chapter.

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Essential reading for lovers of Victorian true-crime stories. The book takes readers on a roller-coaster ride through Britain, France and Monaco in the company of one of the greatest swindlers of the era as he pulls off one breath-taking coup after another. His amazing win at Monte Carlo is just one of many highlights in this true story, which reaches a climax when Wells is pursued across Europe in one of the biggest man-hunts of all time.

Also available to purchase at Waterstones and as an audiobook on Audible.






The History Press Ltd.


Paperback; Hardcover; eBook; Audio book


Brilliant ‒ a terrific read. Robin Quinn's eye for a story and readiness to dig deep have paid off with a gasp-inducing account of the career of an outrageous chancer, who went from being Europe's most envied man to most-wanted criminal. Rien ne va plus!

Michael Aspel O.B.ETelevision host

You couldn’t really make up this story. It’s actual real life stuff that’s both unbelievable, extraordinary and true. The best book I’ve read all year, the level of research that’s gone into this excellent book by Robin Quinn is staggering. A thoroughly entertaining, interesting read that’s highly recommended.

Nigel JonesEditor, Devonshire Magazine

I can't rate this book highly enough. Not what I expected, very quick moving and so full of wonderful details. You get close to the exceptional Charles Wells and the last chapters are revealing as so much is explained. I am staggered at the sheer amount of research that must have gone into this wonderful story.

John AdaGoodreads Review

A highly enjoyable book that I couldn't put down.

Kate H.Amazon Review

"The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo" kept me seriously entertained. Robin Quinn does a terrific job documenting the indefatigable Wells in his decades long quest to separate marks from their money, despite frequent legal setbacks that repeatedly put him back at square one. … One is ultimately left wondering what he could have done with his life had he used his genius for less sketchy pursuits.

‘TCHELITCHEW’Goodreads Review


Charles Deville Wells aka ‘Monte Carlo Wells’ aka ‘The Man Who Broke The Bank At Monte Carlo’

In 1891, during two visits to the Casino at Monte Carlo, Charles Deville Wells broke the bank several times and won £60,000 (equivalent to £6 million today). The present owners of the Casino admit that his success has never been satisfactorily explained. In ‘The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo’, author Robin Quinn sets out the possibilities .

To ‘break the bank’ means to clean out the cash reserve of the gambling table in question. Each table was stocked with 100,000 francs in cash at the start of each day. If a player ‘broke the bank’, that table was temporarily closed and was covered with a black cloth.

Soon after he broke the bank, Charles Deville Wells bought an old cargo ship, the Tycho Brahe, and converted her into a luxury yacht, re-naming her Palais Royal. At 291 feet in length, the vessel was one of the largest pleasure craft in the world. Even today, she would be in the top-50 of yachts in terms of size.

After Charles Wells broke the bank in 1891, his exploits inspired composer Fred Gilbert to write a song entitled – naturally – The Man Who broke the Bank at Monte Carlo. This became the hit song of a generation and remained popular for well over half a century. The singer most closely associated with it, Charles Coborn, made at least five separate records featuring the tune, and once said he had performed it on stage a quarter of a million times.