Sunday, March 4, 2007

From the WTF Case Files

I was out running errands this evening, listening to NPR's Weekend Edition. There was a segment discussing the Picassos stolen from his granddaughter's apartment. The guest being interviewed was Thomas McShane--apparently a former FBI agent working in their Art Fraud division. It was a painful few minutes of radio (audio can be found here.) I was startled to learn that it's entirely likely that the theft could be the work of terrorists! To raise money for weapons! Or just to have a piece of art to admire! He also told (what I assume were supposed to be) interesting anecdotes from his past cases. At some point during the interview (I refuse to relisten to pinpoint exactly where it comes) they give a plug for his book Stolen Masterpiece Tracker. Which was followed by the line: "The Dangerous Life of the FBI's Number One Art Sleuth." I thought this was some sort of bald self-promotional hyperbole, the work either of the man himself or some promo-copy flack until I went to Amazon and saw that it's actually on the book's cover. (I'd call it a subtitle, except for the fact that it runs like a marquee across the top of the book, above the title.) Who knew the FBI had Art Sleuths? Who knew they actually were called Sleuths? Who knew the Islamofascists liked art enough to trade it for weapons?

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