The Unsolved Crimes of Phil Cresta
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An engaging story about the greatest criminal mastermind you’ve never heard of.

According to sportscaster Wallace and ex-cop Crowley, a Boston crook named Phil Cresta devised some Houdini-like means of acquiring rare coins, furs, or whatever potential haul lurked out there in the 1960s. How did several boxes of diamonds disappear from a locked vault? Why did certain cars transporting valuable merchandise break down only on the darkest stretches of road (where masked highwaymen would immediately show up to relieve them of their precious cargo)? The answers to these and many other previously unsolved crimes are right here. Although married twice, Cresta found little time for his wife and kids. He preferred hanging out with his two partners, who shared equally in all profits (which eventually came to millions). This gang of three seldom injured guards or bystanders, but they were prepared to do so if necessary. In fact, Cresta is credited here with a revenge killing that, up to now, had not even been recognized as a homicide by the Boston PD. In 1999, Crowley approached Wallace with newspaper clippings about unsolved crimes, claiming they had all been committed by Cresta. If few had ever heard of Cresta, he maintained, this was only proof of his genius: he had died in 1995, finally penniless and taken in by the former policeman (to whom he supposedly confessed his exploits). Readers may well wonder whether the details of these heists have been responsibly double-checked—or whether Cresta, despite his confession, was a liar.

Like most barstool confessions, this ought to be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s a good yarn to help while away a rainy afternoon. It’s not likely to keep the boys on the city desk working overtime, though.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 2000
ISBN: 1-55553-449-X
Page count: 230pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2000