Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Review: Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures

Review: Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World’s Stolen Treasures, Robert K. Wittman with John Shiffman, Crown Publishing: 2010.

Priceless opens with an undercover art sting in Miami Beach, complete with a yacht, a Rolls Royce, and two French henchmen from the European art underworld.  This is the first glimpse we get of our protagonist, Robert Wittman, in this sting known better as Bob Clay, and the only thing odd about this Miami Vice-inspired scene is that it is a true story. Wittman, founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team and senior investigator for the Bureau until his retirement in 2008, has some great stories to tell from his many years investigating art crimes.  He lays them all out for the reader like a holiday feast, and even includes some tantalizing hints about the most famous art heist of recent history, the Isabella Stewart Gardner theft in 1990. Wittman relays these stories in a bit of an unpracticed voice that is more beat cop than storyteller, but the reader can’t help but be intrigued and caught up in this view into a world we never see.... Read our full book review in the upcoming Spring 2014 VAM Voice member news magazine. 

Interested in hearing more about the FBI art crimes unit?  Don’t miss the Keynote Presentation at the 2014 Annual Conference, where our speaker will be Gregg Horner.  Horner is a current member of the FBI art crimes squad, and will share some of his experiences with our attendees on Tuesday, March 18th.  He will also be a part of a session later that morning on theft in museums.  

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