Saturday, August 6, 2011
You would expect from the title of the post that this would be a review of another book on art crime. Fooled you! It's about reptile crime.
Who knew there was such a thing? Apparently in the sixties and seventies, before governments started cracking down on it, there were a number of guys who made fairly decent livings smuggling reptiles for private collections and zoos. In a way, very similar to art crime (minus the forgeries and replace zoos with museums). The big difference is that the guys who dealt with smuggling reptiles also had an obsession with reptiles themselves. Reptile smuggling isn't exactly a field you get into for the money.
Jennie Smith's book is primarily about two dealers who continue in the reptile trade into the 2000's. I didn't much care for them and the book is based mostly on interviews with them. As such it is one-sided and being as I didn't like the fellows, I didn't really care much about the outcome of the story/their lives.
I also disliked Smith's writing. It was as boring as her name. I was surprised to find that she makes a living writing. Yeah, I disliked it that much. I think in part because it reminded me of my own writing (which I really don't like). Dry, a lack of description.
I signed this book out, in part, because it had sat on our new book shelf for four months without anyone signing it out before me. I kind of felt bad for the book. Having read it, I don't feel bad anymore if it sits untouched.