A True Story of Art and Crime
'A highly readable account of the way criminal lowlife gets involved with great art...written in a sharp thrillerish style...a diverting mixture of mad daring and blind incompetence on both the right and wrong sides of the law' Daily Mail
Vermeer, Goya, Rembrandt, Rubens - the Beit art collection was worth millions. For decades Sir Alfred and Lady Beit had lived peacefully at Russborough House in Ireland. Until people started stealing their paintings...Of all the canvases at Russborough, it was Vermeer's Lady Writing a Letter with her Maid that most caught the public's imagination. Twice stolen, once by an IRA sympathiser and then by notorious gangster Martin Cahill, it risked being lost from view forever, unless the Garda, together with Scotland Yard and some seasoned international art detectives, could contrive the perfect sting...
Matthew Hart tells the riveting story of the theft and recovery of some of the world's most important art, finding new leads and unexpected connections in the mysterious underworld of international art crime.
“Absorbing and fast-moving”
Christopher Hirst, Independent
“The reader is gripped from the start by the fun of the chase... This book is a fabulous read”
“Hart writes, as it were, from the heart - he cares so intimately, knows so much and selects so impeccably”
“A "good story", with cops and robbers, terrorists, nincompoops, useful historical background, lurid modern foreground and a style that reanimates the past... Fascinating”
Independent on Sunday
“Matthew Hart conveys the glamour, adventure, ruthlessness and even murderous nature of the trade with a novelist's grasp of narrative... Excellent”
“The Irish Game may be about crime and art, but it is accessible to just about anyone, unfolding with a good deal of suspense. For those who might associate museums and lofty works of art with elitism and stuffiness, Hart reveals a far more compelling world filled with desperation and betrayal”
Los Angeles Times
“A gripping story of truly global reach - he has kept his tale at just the right pressure and temperature - think Indiana Jones meets James Bond meets Forbes ASAP”
Independent on Sunday
“From the frozen wastes of northern Canada to the beaches of Namibia and on to the fortified diamond houses of London's charterhouse Street, this is, fittingly, sparkling stuff”