I don’t know why, but this made me think of Michael Gruber’s excellent Book of Air and Shadows. Oh, wait, I know why. (Although this is more Donald Westlake than Gruber.) New tag: Life Imitates Art. (Although we know where Art gets his ideas.) From the Guardian (“Man held over theft of Shakespeare first folio,” by James Sturcke and others):
A tale of greed, woe and comic folly – not unlike those contained within its ancient pages – appeared to be nearing its final act today after the recovery of a “priceless” edition of Shakespeare’s plays stolen a decade ago.
The first folio edition, printed in 1623, was among a number of books and manuscripts taken from Durham University library in December 1998.
. . .
Durham police said a 51-year-old man, claiming to be an international businessman who had acquired the volume in Cuba, had showed the folio to staff at a library in Washington, DC and asked them to verify it was genuine.
In a moment of apparent foolhardiness, he agreed to leave it with librarians, whose research revealed it as stolen.