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Books about heroic con artists?
May 31, 2012 7:38 AM   Subscribe

What are the best books about heroic con artists? Nonfiction (Schindler's List) or fiction (Going Postal) are both fine.
posted by Sticherbeast to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Lies of Locke Lamora.
posted by feral_goldfish at 7:41 AM on May 31, 2012 [2 favorites]


Does Catch Me If You Can count as heroic?
posted by xenization at 8:05 AM on May 31, 2012


Does Catch Me If You Can count as heroic?

Not really. He's just charming and generally not-evil. He doesn't actively do any good that I can recall.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:09 AM on May 31, 2012


Fletch. (Books are different, better than the movie.)
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:16 AM on May 31, 2012


Books:

The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett.

White Cat by Holly Black (and sequels Red Glove and Black Heart)

Movies:

The Music Man
The Sting
Ocean's Eleven
posted by kyrademon at 8:20 AM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Whoops, got confused, you were only asking about books. Please ignore the movie suggestions.)
posted by kyrademon at 8:21 AM on May 31, 2012


Oh, and for nonfiction, there's the story of Hans Van Meegeren, as recounted in books like The Forger's Spell and others ... while not exactly a hero, he is still actually rather revered in his home country of the Netherlands for having conned the Nazis.
posted by kyrademon at 8:30 AM on May 31, 2012


The Dortmunder books by Westlake are great... he's not exactly right "heroic" but usually guy getting ripped off or robbed is a jerk in some way.
posted by The otter lady at 8:30 AM on May 31, 2012


Agent Zigzag is a great book(though he wasn't entirely heroic):

Eddie Chapman was a charming criminal, a con man, and a philanderer. He was also one of the most remarkable double agents Britain has ever produced. Inside the traitor was a man of loyalty; inside the villain was a hero. The problem for Chapman, his spymasters, and his lovers was to know where one persona ended and the other began.
posted by Bearman at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haven't read the stories but Fritz Lieber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser would seem to qualify.

Regis from The Icewind Dale Trilogy would fit too, as a former thief and agent of a crime boss, heroic but still willing to play a few tricks to make his way into wealth and public office.
posted by XMLicious at 10:13 AM on May 31, 2012


The Illuminatus! Trilogy is filled with heroic con men. And non-heroic con men. It would really take a hero to figure out which is which.
posted by Quonab at 10:55 AM on May 31, 2012


'American Gods', some Stainless Steel Rat books.
posted by BinaryApe at 1:02 PM on May 31, 2012


some Stainless Steel Rat books

Oh yeah! Also, the Stainless Steel Rat reference reminds me of Flashman, who while a coward and a cad, does seem to accidentally wind up doing some good. Sometimes. Unintentionally.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:40 PM on May 31, 2012


Matchstick Men, maybe?
posted by OHSnap at 10:30 PM on May 31, 2012


Seconding The Lies of Locke Lamora.

I haven't read them for twenty years, but I remember enjoying Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffrey Archer and If Tomorrow Comes by Sidney Sheldon. Both are about ordinary people -- four men in one, a lone woman in the other -- who turn into con men/women to exact revenge on some bad people.

The Archer is pretty light, the Sheldon is very dramatic and over the top in that 1980s way.
posted by Georgina at 5:51 AM on June 1, 2012


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