Confident women : swindlers, grifters, and shapeshifters of the feminine persuasion

by Telfer, Tori,

Format: Print Book 2021
Availability: Available at 15 Libraries 15 of 15 copies
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Bethel Park Public Library Nonfiction 364.163 TE
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A thoroughly entertaining and darkly humorous roundup of history's notorious but often forgotten female con artists and their bold, outrageous scams--by the acclaimed author of Lady Killers.

From Elizabeth Holmes and Anna Delvey to Frank Abagnale and Charles Ponzi, audacious scams and charismatic scammers continue to intrigue us as a culture. As Tori Telfer reveals in Confident Women, the art of the con has a long and venerable tradition, and its female practitioners are some of the best--or worst.

In the 1700s in Paris, Jeanne de Saint-Rémy scammed the royal jewelers out of a necklace made from six hundred and forty-seven diamonds by pretending she was best friends with Queen Marie Antoinette.

In the mid-1800s, sisters Kate and Maggie Fox began pretending they could speak to spirits and accidentally started a religious movement that was soon crawling with female con artists. A gal calling herself Loreta Janeta Velasquez claimed to be a soldier and convinced people she worked for the Confederacy--or the Union, depending on who she was talking to. Meanwhile, Cassie Chadwick was forging paperwork and getting banks to loan her upwards of $40,000 by telling people she was Andrew Carnegie's illegitimate daughter.

In the 1900s, a 40something woman named Margaret Lydia Burton embezzled money all over the country and stole upwards of forty prized show dogs, while a few decades later, a teenager named Roxie Ann Rice scammed the entire NFL. And since the death of the Romanovs, women claiming to be Anastasia have been selling their stories to magazines. What about today? Spoiler alert: these "artists" are still conning.

Confident Women asks the provocative question: Where does chutzpah intersect with a uniquely female pathology--and how were these notorious women able to so spectacularly dupe and swindle their victims?

Jeanne de Saint-Rémy
Cassie Chadwick
Wang Ti
The spiritualists
Fu Futtam
Rose Marks
The Anastasias
Roxie Ann Rice
The tragediennes
Bonny Lee Bakley
Lauretta J. Williams
Margaret Lydia Burton
Sante Kimes.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "As she did in her previous book, Lady Killers (2017), popular internet columnist and podcaster Telfer brings readers more babes who've done bad, bad things. This time, she swerves toward opportunistic tricksters, with short accounts organized by the nature of their crimes: the fame- and luxury-chasing Glitterati, the otherworldly Seers, the Fabulists, and the Drifters. While Telfer mines history for interesting examples of women who infiltrated the French royal court or who hit the town, pulled their scams, then drove off in pink cars full of puppies, she also includes more recent grifters like the pseudo-rich Anna Delvey, fake Grenfell and 9/11 victims, and other assorted con women of the internet era. Whether she's describing women pretending to be doctors, socialites, or just another nice lady who desperately needed help, Telfer dishes up their scandalous schemes for true-crime fans to relish. Recommended for fans of Rachel DeLoache Williams' true-crime memoir, My Friend Anna (2019).Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In this compulsively readable account, Telfer (Lady Killers) delivers a darkly humorous tale of some of the most outrageous con women who ever scammed the public. Her subjects range from Jeanne de Saint-Rémy, who engineered a scheme in 18th-century France involving a cardinal, a diamond necklace, and Marie Antoinette that led to a scandal and contributed to the fall of the French monarchy, to Bonny Lee Bakley, who ran a mail-order porn scam, conned actor Robert Blake into marrying her--and wound up murdered for it in 2001. In the early part of the 20th century, there were hundreds of fake Anastasias, purporting to be the Russian princess, who bilked believers out of money, apartments, cars, and furs. More recently, Telfer writes, fake spiritualists and mediums have swindled the American public out of $2.1 billion a year, among them Rose Marks, who gave spiritual advice to romance novelist Jude Deveraux to the tune of $17 million from 1991 to 2008. Then there's Alicia Head, who had a horrifying story of surviving 9/11 that made her famous and the leader of a survivor network. It wasn't until 2007 that the New York Times outed Head as a fake who wasn't even in the country on 9/11. Assured prose complements the vivid portraits. True crime fans are in for a treat. Agent: Erin Hosier, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary. (Feb.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Swindlers and swindling.
Swindlers and swindling -- Biography.
Women -- Psychology.
Women in popular culture.
Publisher New York, NY :Harper,2021
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description xiv, 336 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (pages 293-336).
ISBN 9780063065130
Other Classic View