The King of Diamonds: The Search for the Elusive Texas Jewel Thief

The King of Diamonds: The Search for the Elusive Texas Jewel Thief

by Rena Pederson
The King of Diamonds: The Search for the Elusive Texas Jewel Thief

The King of Diamonds: The Search for the Elusive Texas Jewel Thief

by Rena Pederson


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The thrilling story of a brazen, uncatchable jewel thief who roamed the homes of Dallas high society—and a window into the dark secrets lurking beneath the surface of the Swinging Sixties.

As a string of high profile jewel thefts went unsolved during the Swinging Sixties, the press dubbed the elusive thief "the King of Diamonds" because he eluded police and the FBI for more than a decade.
Like Cary Grant in "To Catch a Thief," the King was so bold that he tip-toed into the homes of millionaires while they were watching television, or hosting parties. He hid in their closets. And dared to smoke a cigarette while they were sleeping not far away. Rena Pederson, then a young reporter withUPI, started following the elusive thief while she managed the night desk.

With gymnastic skill, this thief climbed trees or crawled across rooftops to get into sprawling mansions. He took jewels from heiresses, oil kings, corporate CEOs. These were not just some of the richest people in Texas; they were some of the richest people of their time. Scotland Yard and Interpol were on the look-out. But the thief was never caught and the jewels never recovered.

To follow the tracks of the thief, Rena has interviewed more than two hundred people, from veteran cops to strippers. She went to pawn shops, Las Vegas casinos, and a Mafia hangout—and discovered that beneath the glittering façade of Dallas debutante parties was a world of sex trafficking, illegal gambling, and political graft. When one of the leading suspects was found dead in highly unusual circumstances, the story darkened. High society crashed head-first into Mickey Spillane.

The odd psychological aspects of the The King of Diamonds give us different kind of crime story. Detectives were stumped: Why did the thief break into houses when his targets were inside, increasing the risk of being captured? Why did he hide in their closets? Many times, he was so close he could hear their breathing as they slept. As one socialite put it, “It was a very peculiar business.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781639366057
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 04/09/2024
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 17,651
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Rena Pederson is an award-winning journalist, accomplished TED speaker, and author of five books. During her career, she has interviewed newsmakers ranging from Margaret Thatcher to Fidel Castro and Jane Goodall as well as five U.S. Presidents. She served on the Pulitzer Prize Board for nine years. As Vice President and Editorial Page Editor at The Dallas Morning News, she received national recognition. During that time, Texas Monthly described Pederson as one of the most powerful women in Texas. Pederson also served as a Senior Speechwriter and Advisor for Strategic Communications at the U.S. Department of State. Her first book What’s Next? was featured on the Oprah Winfrey television show and her book, The Burma Spring, was featured in the Los Angeles Book Festival and the Texas Book Festival.
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