The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, the biography of gambler and fraudster Charles Deville Wells, has been out for just over a month now, and Amazon reviews are beginning to be posted.
Reviewer TD writes:
Robin Quinn has produced another fascinating book writing about the long criminal life of Charles Wells.
The author must have spent hundreds of hours searching, not just the official records both in France and England, but in particular scanning the columns of the many newspapers which over many years referred to the persistent fraudulent activities of this man of many aliases.
It makes compelling reading.
Another reader comments:
Robin Quinn’s well-researched, highly readable account of the extraordinary Victorian fraudster Charles Wells is a useful reminder of the gullibility and greed that allow confidence tricksters to flourish in all ages. Wells was a respectable, moderately successful civil engineer who turned to fraud in middle age to satisfy his growing desire for wealth, status and luxury. The book’s title comes from a short but highly publicised episode in Wells’ career, when he sailed his fraud-funded yacht into Monte Carlo harbour with his glamorous French wife and “broke the bank” at the roulette tables.
Quinn uses contemporary newspaper reports and public records very effectively in his investigation of Wells’ criminal techniques, and even analyses how Wells’ might have engineered his success at the casino. It’s an intriguing account of a highly inventive and single-minded confidence trickster who is often seen as the true inventor of the Ponzi scheme, and who would have relished the opportunities offered by the Internet today. A fascinating book, and one that would make a great film!
[Robin adds: “If you’re reading this, Mr Spielberg …” ]