Worcester Business Journal
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Shortly after midnight on March 18, 1990, two men broke into the
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston and committed the largest art
heist in history. They stole a dozen masterpieces, including one
Vermeer, three Rembrandts, and five Degas. But after thousands of
leads, hundreds of interviews, and a $5-million reward, not a single
painting has been recovered. Worth a total of $500 million, the missing
masterpieces have become the Holy Grail of the art world and one of the
nation's most extraordinary unsolved mysteries.
Art detective Harold Smith worked on the theft for years, and after his
death, reporter Ulrich Boser inherited his case files. Traveling deep
into the art underworld, Boser explores Smith's unfinished leads and
comes across a remarkable cast of characters, including the brilliant
rock 'n' roll art thief; the golden-boy gangster who professes his
innocence in rhyming verse; the deadly mobster James "Whitey" Bulger;
and the Boston heiress Isabella Stewart Gardner, who stipulated in her
will that nothing should ever be changed in her museum, a provision
followed so closely that the empty frames of the stolen works still
hang on the walls. Boser eventually cracks one of the biggest mysteries
of the case and uncovers the identities of the men who robbed the
museum nearly two decades ago. A tale of art and greed, of obsession
and loss, The Gardner Heist is as compelling as the stolen masterpieces themselves.