Shakespeare & Love: The Inside Story of the Book Crime That Stunned the World by Mike P. Kelly
In March 2012, eccentric antiques dealer Raymond Scott was found dead in his prison cell, apparently after having cut his own throat. It was the final tragic act in one of the most bizarre criminal cases ever held in England. The story begins in 1998 after a rare copy of a Shakespeare First Folio was stolen from Durham University just 10 miles from where Scott lived. For a decade the authorities had been stumped as to what had happened to it until Raymond Scott strolled into the famous Folger Library in Washington DC to have it authenticated for sale. Printed in 1623, the First Folio is widely regarded as the most important non-secular printed book in the English language and one in pristine condition (like the Durham copy had been when stolen) could be worth millions. The flamboyantly-attired Scott had a taste for Ferraris and Lamborghinis yet had spent most of his time living with his aged mother, Hannah, on social security payments in a modest home in Washington, Tyne on Wear. Scott, 55 when he died, wanted the money from selling the First Folio to live the high life with his beautiful 21-year-old Cuban dancer girlfriend he met during frequent trips to Havana. In one of the many strange twists, he claimed he obtained the book from a friend in Cuba who was a former bodyguard to President Fidel Castro. Scott, who never took the stand, was eventually jailed for eight years for handling stolen goods but was cleared of stealing the First Folio. For 18 months, from just after his arrest to his death, Scott conducted a series of interviews with reporter Mike Kelly during which never heard before evidence was revealed including the naming of an alleged second suspect. Even after Scott was jailed they kept in touch via frequent correspondence. Shakespeare & Love reveals the true story behind the theft of the Durham Shakespeare First Folio and uncovers for the first time the man dubbed by the press as 'Bling Lear'.