The Woman Who Stole Vermeer: The True Story of Rose Dugdale and the Russborough House Art Heist

Anthony M. Amore. Pegasus Crime, $27.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-64313-529-8
Amore (The Art of the Con) charts in this engrossing account the transformation of Rose Dugdale from a privileged English debutante into a committed radical and fighter for the liberation of Northern Ireland from British rule. During Rose’s childhood in Devon, her authoritarian mother demanded her compliance with social class expectations, but Rose’s political beliefs shifted to the left at Oxford and led her to participate in revolutionary action. In 1974, she and three others pulled off one of the most spectacular art heists ever: they stormed the home of Conservative MP Alfred Beit, stealing 19 paintings in less than 10 minutes, one of them Vermeer’s The Lady Writing a Letter with Her Maid. Amore vividly describes how Rose was identified as the leader of the heist and the subsequent hunt for the perpetrators, as well as the circumstances of her capture and details of the trial, which she used as theater to advocate IRA ideas, though the group never recognized her as a member. Sentenced to nine years in prison, she was released in 1980. Thorough research is matched by prose that keeps the reader turning the pages. True crime and history buffs will revel in the saga of this truly fascinating woman. Agent: Sharlene Martin, Martin Literary Management. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 08/21/2020
Release date: 11/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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