Library notes: Everyone loves a good heist

  • Posted: Sunday, October 13, 2013 12:01 a.m.
    UPDATED: Monday, October 14, 2013 9:11 a.m.

The masked intruder slipped through a French door of the lavish Carlton International Hotel, scooping up rings, pendants, and diamond-encrusted earrings before making his escape out a window. The brazen daytime heist was over in roughly 60 seconds. With an estimated value of $136 million, it is the largest-value jewel theft in French history and one of the largest in the world.

The July 28, 2013 robbery in the French Riviera resort of Cannes captured attention around the globe. Stories of heists have long fascinated readers, and jewel heists have been featured in a number of recent books, including these titles available at Rowan Public Library:


In “The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace,” Molly Caldwell Crosby tells the true story of the 1913 collaboration between a notorious jewel thief and the chief inspector of Scotland Yard as they hunt for a precious pearl necklace worth more than the Hope Diamond. Reading like a fast-paced crime thriller, the book describes the theft of the famed pink Meyer pearls, worth nearly $20 million in today’s currency. Set in the underworld of London’s Hatton Garden jewelry district in the days before World War I, the sting operation to regain the pearls and subsequent highly-publicized trial were a major influence on British crime detection and the legal system.

In his first novel to be released in the U.S., best-selling Flemish author Pieter Aspe introduces us to Belgian Detective Inspector Pieter Van In, who solves crimes in the medieval city of Bruges. “The Square of Revenge” involves a most unusual jewelry store robbery: the precious gems were not stolen, but melted in a vat of acid. Left behind in the empty safe is a scrap of paper with a Latin message in the form of a square. As the investigation progresses, these cryptic messages continue to appear, and Van In discovers that the crime involves secrets from generations past.

Ally Carter brings us a jewel heist story for teens in “Uncommon Criminals,” part of the Heist Society series. Raised in a family of art thieves, Katarina Bishop has decided to use her skills to return items to their rightful owners. Returning priceless objects of art plundered by the Nazis is one thing, but stealing the infamous Cleopatra Emerald from an unscrupulous dealer is another job altogether. Kat and her team concoct a scheme to liberate the reputedly cursed jewel. It’s a whirlwind adventure around the globe as Kat seeks the elusive Cleopatra. Will she be able to dodge the curse and return the emerald to its rightful owners?

Best-selling authors Catherine Coulter and J. T. Ellison team up to introduce a new series featuring Chief inspector Nicholas Drummond of Scotland Yard. In “The Final Cut” Drummond investigates the theft of the crown jewel of the Metropolitan Museum of Art: the Koh-i-Noor diamond from the Queen Mother’s crown. In the course of this action-packed thriller, Drummond connects with FBI agents Savitch and Sherlock from Coulter’s previous works.

Whether factual or fictional, you are sure to find a good heist story at Rowan Public Library.

Fall Story Time: Now-Nov. 29. For more information call 704-216-8234.

Baby Time — A loosely interactive program introducing simple stories and songs to 6- to 23-month-olds and their parents. Headquarters, Wednesdays, 10 a.m.; East, Mondays, 10 a.m.

Toddler Time — A program for children 18 to 35 months old with a parent, focused on sharing books, singing songs and encouraging listening skills. Headquarters, Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m.; East, Monday, 11 a.m.

Tiny Tumblers — A loosely interactive program for children 6 to 35 months old with a parent or caregiver introducing simple stories, musical scarves and instruments. Same program offered two separate days. South, Tuesdays or Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Preschool Time — A program for 3- to 5-year-olds to encourage the exploration of books and to build reading readiness skills. Headquarters, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.; South, Tuesdays, 1:30 p.m.; East, Thursdays, 10:30 a.m.

Noodle Head Story Time — A program for children ages 4 to 8 to enjoy silly books and tales together. Headquarters, Thursdays, 4 p.m.; South, Mondays, 4 p.m.

Art programs — Learn different art techniques and start a new art project. Runs weekly during Story Time. Art in the Afternoon, Headquarters, Thursdays, 4:30 p.m.; The Paintbrush, South, Wednesdays, 4 p.m.; Art with Char, East, Thursdays, 4 p.m.

Histories and Mysteries at China Grove Roller Mill: Oct. 13, 2 p.m., 308 N. Main St., China Grove. A free and entertaining afternoon of Histories and Mysteries the whole family can enjoy. Tours of the building will be offered throughout the afternoon. Sponsored by China Grove Historical Society and RPL.

Jackie Torrence storytelling festival: Headquarters, Oct. 19, 10 a.m., on the lawn. Featuring 11-year-old author Logan Mauldin and a tribute to Jackie by the NC Black Storytellers Association. Sponsored by Rowan Public Library, Rowan Blues and Jazz Society, Rowan Arts Council and the NC Arts Council.

Book Chats for children at South branch: Oct. 24, 4:15 p.m., “Trouble with the Chicken,” by Doreen Coreen, grades 3-4. Children in grades 2-5 are invited to participate in Book Chats at South Rowan Regional Library in China Grove. Registration is required and space is limited. Please call 704-216-7728 for more information.

Fall Photowalk at RPL: All start at 5:30 p.m. East, Oct. 22; South, Oct. 24; headquarters, Oct. 26. Get your camera ready and join us for a photowalk. Aspiring photographers of all ages and skill levels are invited. Please call 704-216-8229 or email AprilEverett@rowancountync.gov for information and to register.

Book Bites Club: South (only), Oct. 29, 6:30 p.m., “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie. Book discussion groups for adults and children meet the last Tuesday of each month. The group is open to the public and anyone is free to join at any time. There is a discussion of the book, as well as light refreshments at each meeting. For more information, please call 704-216-8229.

Teen program: All 5:30-7 p.m. Free monthly programs for middle and high school students. Live action games. Life-size Angry Birds and more. Questions? Call 704-216-8234. East, Oct. 21; Headquarters, Oct. 22; South, Oct. 29.

Displays for October: headquarters, NAMI by Jo Kearns; South, student art work by Carson High School; East, wood by Whitey Harwood.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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