By Barbara Jeffery
This hardback book brings you an extraordinary tale of intrigue that ends up with buying the secrets Enigma machine in the early 1930s. This book is meticulously researched and brings you a profile of Monty Newton and Rodolphe Lemoine who must be two of the most outrageous conmen in history.
When the Rajah Sir Hari Singh of Kashmir came to London in 1919, he was introduced by his aide de camp to Mrs Maud (Maudie) Robinson. They became lovers and went to Paris for Christmas where they were 'discovered' in bed together. The Mayfair Mob had set the whole thing up and Sir Hari paid up to avoid citation in a divorce case. What happened next was sensational: a court case that gripped the world for eight days in 1924. The British government imposed the greatest secrecy on the scandal and kept files closed for a hundred years rather than the usual thirty. Lemoine, a German working for French intelligence, who in 1931 bought the working manuals of the new German Enigma encoding machine from a clerk, so that in 1932 the Polish could crack the code. This is five years before Alan Turing even thought of studying cryptology.
In between the greatest blackmail pay-out in history and buying the code, Chancers follows Newton and Lemoine around the world, from Monte Carlo to Mexico - always staying in the best hotels - as they con the rich and gullible out of their millions. This book is a fascinating and well written read packed with twists and turns that could easily have been a great novel if it were not true story.
Hardback, Size 155 x 236mm, 288 pages