In 1817 a young woman of exotic appearance was found wandering near Bristol. She spoke in a language that no one could understand except, seemingly a Portuguese sailor. He claimed that she was a Sumatran princess from the island of Javasu. Princess Caraboo, as she was known, became a national celebrity and lived in a grand style, entertaining many distinguished visitors. A few weeks later, however, she was exposed as Mary Baker, the daughter of a cobbler from Devonshire.
Mary’s deception is one of several intriguing stories of nineteenth-century fraudsters brought to light in Linda Stratmann’s entertaining look at some of history’s greatest rogues. From bankers who forged share certificates, ruining hundreds of small investors, to ‘Louis de Rougemont’whose tales of high adventure branded him The Greatest Liar on Earth’, these riveting tales of true crime expose the seedy side of life in which corruption, avarice and scandal hold sway. .