THE TRAIN ROBBERS by Piers Paul Read


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A crackling recreation of Britain's Great Train Robbery in 1963 which netted the 15 thieves involved some 2(apple) million pounds (about $15 million in today's currency) and which was the unrivaled crime of the century. The story has been told before, by members of Scotland Yard, by reporters, and by members of the gang, notably Ronnie Biggs (Biggs: The World's Most Wanted Man, by Colin Mackenzie) who is still luxuriating in decadence in Rio and alone has not served jail time. Novelist-journalist Read (Polonaise; Alive!) was recruited by his British publisher to write this book when an agent from South Africa, Gary van Dyck, approached the company with the fantastic tale that the Great Train Robbery was financed by Otto Skorzeny--the German commando leader who rescued Mussolini--and that Skorzeny received a million pounds in return for 80,000 pounds investment. All the train robbers but one were now out on parole and presumably would tell the true story of the Nazi backing, for a price. They needed money to start life over. Read takes us deliberately through the entire criminal conspiracy, the robbery, the captures, trials, prison terms, the flights about Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and the prison escapes. Did the Nazis back the robbery? You won't know until the last page. Nazi-schmazi, a gripper.

Pub Date: May 30th, 1978
Publisher: Lippincott