A Gentleman and a Thief

The Daring Jewel Heists of a Jazz Age Rogue


By Dean Jobb

Formats and Prices



A captivating Jazz Age true-crime caper about "the greatest jewel thief who ever lived" (Life Magazine), Arthur Barry, who charmed everyone from Rockefellers to members of the royal family while simultaneously planning and executing the most audacious and lucrative heists of the 1920s. 

“A master of narrative nonfiction. In this mesmerizing tale about a Jazz Age gentlemanly thief, Jobb has found his own perfect jewel.”
―DAVID GRANN, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wager and Killers of the Flower Moon

“An enthrallingly propulsive, unpredictably twisty biography of one of the most fascinating criminals of the 20th Century.  I was hooked from the very first heist.”
―MICHAEL FINKEL, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Thief and The Stranger in the Woods

Catch Me If You Can meets The Great Gatsby meets the hit Netflix series Lupin in this captivating true-crime caper. A skilled con artist and perhaps one of the most charming, audacious burglars in history, Arthur Barry slipped in and out of the bedrooms of New York’s wealthiest residents, even as his victims slept only inches away. He befriended luminaries such as the Prince of Wales and Harry Houdini and became a folk hero, touted in the press as “the greatest jewel thief who ever lived” and an “Aristocrat of Crime.” In a span of seven years, Barry stole diamonds, pearls, and other gems worth almost $60 million today. Among his victims were a Rockefeller, an heiress to the Woolworth department store fortune, an oil magnate, Wall Street bigwigs, a top executive of automotive giant General Motors, and a famous polo player. Dean Jobb—hailed by Esquire magazine as “a master of narrative nonfiction”—once again delivers a stylishly told high-speed ride.

A Gentleman and a Thief is also a love story. Barry confessed to dozens of burglaries to protect his wife, Anna Blake (and was the prime suspect in scores of others). Sentenced to a twenty-five year term, he staged a dramatic prison break when Anna became seriously ill so they could be together for a few more years as fugitives. With dozens of historic images, A Gentleman and a Thief is page-turning, escapist, and sparkling with insight into our fascination with jewel heists and the suave, clever criminals who pull them off.

  • “Delectably entertaining … vividly recounts the life and times of the notorious criminal — and tabloid fixture — Arthur Barry. …Jobb, whose fondness for cold chapter-opens matches that of Law & Order’s writers, seems incapable of penning a dull moment.”
    New York Times Book Review
  • “It’s a Roaring Twenties treat of a tale filled with derring do (he robbed seemingly every rich person in NYC) and high drama. If George Clooney hasn’t optioned this yarn, we don’t know nothing.”
  • “Dean Jobb has long been a master of narrative nonfiction, rummaging through the past to uncover lost gems of history. And in this mesmerizing tale about a Jazz Age gentlemanly thief, Jobb has found his own perfect jewel.”
    David Grann, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wager and Killers of the Flower Moon
  • “An enthrallingly propulsive, unpredictably twisty biography of one of the most fascinating criminals of the 20th Century. Dean Jobb’s immersive writing and in-depth research brings this startling true story to life. I was hooked from the very first heist.”
    Michael Finkel, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Thief and The Stranger in the Woods
  • "A dazzling triumph of narrative nonfiction. Dean Jobb writes as nimbly as his 'gentleman thief' moves through the darkened homes of his wealthy targets – and delivers a roaring tour of 1920s high society."
    Mitchell Zuckoff, New York Times bestselling author of Lost in Shangri-La and Ponzi’s Scheme
  • “The chapters are short, the energy propulsive, the research prodigious.” –Carl Hoffman
    Washington Post
  • “Dean Jobb has unearthed a long-forgotten anti-hero from the annals of true crime and spun a tale so deliciously wicked I wish I’d written it myself. I was enthralled by the audacious exploits of jewel thief Arthur Barry, who is so wonderfully drawn that I couldn’t help rooting for him. A Gentleman and a Thief is an irresistible slice of New York and Jazz Age history.” 
    Abbott Kahler, New York Times bestselling author (as Karen Abbott) of The Ghosts of Eden Park
  • “This captivating tale will charm its way into your affections like the charismatic rogue at its heart. A Gentleman and a Thief is the glittering jewel of its genre. Once more, Dean Jobb proves he’s a master storyteller.” 
    Lindsey Fitzharris, New York Times bestselling author of The Facemaker
  • “A top-shelf work of true crime… Jobb tells Barry’s tale with both rigor and pathos, painting a tender portrait of a crook who was never fearsome. This is liable to steal readers’ hearts.”
    Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
  • “Breezily told. Barry’s escapades have elements of our favorite fictional thieves and con men.” 
  • “Prepare to be charmed by an anti-hero. This true story of a Jazz Age gentleman burglar — and the lengths he'd go to for the love of his life — is a delight.”
    B&N Reads, Most Anticipated Books of June
  • “Jobb brings [Arthur Barry] vividly to life in this topflight true crime narrative… What sets Jobb apart is the way he approaches his subjects with perception and compassion. This belongs in every library’s true crime section for every reader of this ever-growing genre.”
  • “An entertaining history of a criminal mastermind… A rousing tale of true crime that elicits sympathy for both victims and perpetrator.”
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “In this glittering gem of a book, which follows the rise, fall and eventual redemption of one of America’s most delightful jewel thieves, author Dean Jobb proves that, like his subject, he is a master of the craft. A Gentleman and a Thief is an addictively readable, don’t-miss story.”
    Deborah Blum, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and author of The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz-Age New York.
  • “Dean Jobb’s meticulous and entertaining excavation of the Jazz Age uncovers the charming Arthur Barry, a once-celebrated and now nearly forgotten 'second-story man'—a high society jewel thief of the first order. This gem of a book brings the Roaring Twenties back to life.”
    Glenn Stout, author of Tiger Girl and the Candy Kid and Young Woman and the Sea
  • "Dean Jobb gives us a real-life character like no other, an audacious jewel thief working the society parlors of Jazz Age New York. Here is a book to put alongside the other greats of narrative non-fiction, as cinematic and vivid as any in the catalog of true crime storytelling." 
    Michael Cannell, author of A Brotherhood Betrayed and Incendiary
  • "A potent cocktail of high-end grift and Roaring Twenties opulence, Jobb's latest page-turner sparkles like a trove of stolen diamonds. F. Scott Fitzgerald himself couldn't have made up this story." 
    Joe Pompeo, Vanity Fair correspondent and author of Blood & Ink: The Scandalous Jazz Age Double Murder that Hooked America on True Crime
  • “If you enjoy narrative nonfiction, true crime, glamour, and New York history, you’re going to love A Gentleman and a Thief. …absolutely captivating, full of marquee names… .”
    Amazon Book Review
  • “As Dean Jobb tells it in his brisk, beautifully written new book, [Arthur] Barry … was the antithesis of the crude oafs frequently featured in the era’s popular true-crime magazines.”
  • “I can’t tell you what a great book this is … such a powerful, powerful nonfiction book … this deserves to be a bestseller.” –Rick Kogan
    WGN Radio (Chicago) / After Hours with Rick Kogan

  • "A master criminal capable of even pushing flying legend Charles Lindbergh off the front pages ... exhilarating [and] scrupulously researched."
    Ottawa Citizen
  • "Terrific true-crime ... Dean Jobb has written a book you will not want to put down."
    Red Carpet Crash
  • “The rollicking, caper-filled rise and dramatic downfall of this master thief is a high-speed ride told in stylish prose.” 

    "The rollicking tale of a Gatsby-esque rake who delighted in diamonds ... irresistible ... Jobb once again plunges into a real-life, forgotten tale of an audacious criminal and emerges with a story that supports the cliché that truth is stranger than fiction." 
    Washington Independent Review of Books
  • “Told with brio, historical details galore, dramatic chapter openings, and attributes familiar from top-drawer crime fiction, it’s a love story, to boot. It is, in the end, a gem of tale.”
    The Rap Sheet
  • “We love true crime and author Dean Jobb’s new book, A Gentleman and a Thief hits all the right notes!”
    The Sun Chronicle (Ashland, MA)
  • “Fantastic. Arthur Barry’s exploits will appeal not only to fans of true crime and the Roaring Twenties but to anyone who loves a clever, elaborate heist and the debonair criminal who can pull it off.”
  • “Jobb’s impeccable research and captivating writing style takes the reader into the heart of 1920s New York, crafting an intelligent, thoughtful and exciting account of the life and times of one of the United States’s most infamous lawbreakers.” 
    Winnipeg Free Press

On Sale
Jun 25, 2024
Page Count
448 pages
Algonquin Books

Dean Jobb

About the Author

Dean Jobb is the author of The Case of the Murderous Dr. Cream, winner of the inaugural CrimeCon CLUE Award for true crime book of the year and longlisted for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. His previous books include Empire of Deception, which the New York Times Book Review called “intoxicating and impressively researched” and the Chicago Writers Association named the Nonfiction Book of the Year. Esquire magazine has hailed him as “a master of narrative nonfiction.” Jobb has written for major newspapers and magazines, including the Chicago Tribune and Toronto’s Globe and Mail and his monthly true crime column, “Stranger Than Fiction,” appears in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He is a professor at the University of King’s College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he teaches in the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction program.

Learn more about this author