DOUBLE-DEALER The John Blake Conspiracy Born 30th May 1979 Died 1st March 1982

Author: Watson (Peter)
Year: 1983
Publisher: Hutchinson
Edition Details: 1st Edn.
Book Condition: F/F
ISBN: 0091470803
Price: 6.00
Hardback. How 5 art dealers, 4 policemen, 3 picture restorers, 2 auction houses and a journalist plotted to recover some of the world's most beautiful stolen paintings. This story begins in a beautiful house in Florence on a cold evening in February 1979, and features Rodolfo Siviero, an elegant Italian aristocrat and the world's number one art detective, and journalist Peter Watson, to whom he gave his 'SECRET' file, containing all his suspicions about crooked dealers in the shadowy world of international art theft. So many police squads were corrupt, said Siviero, that only an approach from someone unconnected with the police could hope to recover some of the more valuable and unusual missing pictures. From that conversation the John Blake conspiracy was born. Peter Watson went under cover. He assumed a false name and a false identity and adopted a simple but effective disguise. In a few short weeks, with the help of art dealers, Sotheby's and Christie's, and the ex-head of Scotland Yard's Fine Art Squad, he converted himself into a mysterious art dealer, and contrived to have himself seen apparently spending large sums of money on paintings. Under the name of A. John Blake he lived a double life, sometimes dangerous, occasionally comical, as he moved between London, New York and Italy in pursuit of stolen works of art. The John Blake conspiracy culminated in newspaper and television headlines in New York and Europe on Tuesday, 2nd March 1982. Two major works of art, both stolen, were handed over to Peter Watson, alias John Blake, in a New York hotel. Among the gang arrested as a result were a picture restorer from Cremona in Italy who ran a conduit for stolen paintings from Italy to America and a Roman Catholic priest serving on the staff of the Vatican's Mission to the UN. An astonishing story revealing for the first time how the international traffic in art theft operates. A remarkable, ingenious and funny journalistic escapade. Part I The Caravaggio Conspiracy; Part II The Del Sarto Swindle. Illus. + Epilogue. 264pp. 8vo. h/back. F. in F. dw.


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