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Publisher's Summary

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 647 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 upward of $40,000 by telling people she was Andrew Carnegie’s illegitimate daughter.

In the 1900s, a 40-something woman named Margaret Lydia Burton embezzled money all over the country and stole upward of 40 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?

©2021 Tori Telfe (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

Featured Article: Catch Our Grift with These Tales of Female Frauds, Scammers, and Cons


When it comes to cons of the criminal variety, women often fly under the radar. And when it comes to pulling off high-level, multifaceted schemes, women continue to be underestimated. But with enough confidence to remain undetected, female con artists, fraudsters, and grifters have scammed their way to infamy, racking up dollars, favors, and fame along the way. The stories they leave behind make for some of the most intriguing cases of all time.

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What listeners say about Confident Women

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Fun stories of bad girls

This is light and fun, but that is not to minimize the crimes, actions or deceptions perpetrated by these women. It is not a heavy read and the stories ride along in a way that makes it an easy listen. Worthwhile for those who are interested in how grifters grift. If you are looking for real life crime, it may not be for you, but if you are looking for a longer podcast with a cast of characters, it is a fun listen. Jaime Lamchick does a great job and makes it clear that she enjoyed reading it.

6 people found this helpful

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Great book!

I’m a fan of the author’s podcast Criminal Broads. I loved her book Killer Women. I like how she organizes the story and doesn’t talk or write in circles. These women are crazy. What’s crazy is how long they get away with it too. Especially the current cases. I loved she had the story about all the women trying to claim to be Anastasia in there. A variety of fascinating stories!

Definitely recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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  • KM
  • 04-06-21

Narration is wonderful

The narration on this is awesome- there are so many books that would be so much more if they had the effort in narration that this book does. A great read and a wonderful listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Fun

Interesting stories of ladies on the grift and the men who fell for it. Not a work of great literature, but fun and distracting.

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Enjoyable, easy and well researched

Jaime Lamchik obviously had a great time reading this book, I could hear the laughter in her voice at some of the antics of the con women. Teller did her research and it showed.
The only thing I was missing was more of a conclusion. what makes us love them? What is so interesting about crime, especially white collar crime? I would have liked to see some broader analysis of these trends. But other than that, a pleasant read.

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A genuinely fun and interesting listen!

I can't remember the last time I have had "fun" listening to a book. Confident Women was a thoroughly enjoyable listen -- it also somehow managed to be entertainingly snarky and tongue in cheek without insulting any of the people involved in the stories. I absolutely love this audio book. :)

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Fun and easy listen!

Great fun! The context was fascinating and easy to digest. The reader knocked it out the park. I listen to audiobooks/podcast while I task and hungrily consumed this book over a just a few days. Needless to say laundry is done, yard looks fresh, dishes were hand washed, and my commute lavished in a few extra turns.

Enjoy!

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Cons - a - Million

These women stole everything from money to power and prestige - and they conned, swindled, and killed to get what they wanted. People were naive and gullible to what was happening to them. Great book.

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WOW JUST WOW!!!!

Thumbs up! this is a great listen. the narration FABULOUS! Each of these women needs their own movie! well done author well done!

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More!

I want more! Make a podcast, do a series! This is what I want to take my away from current events. A lovely collection of interesting stories, told in colorful language with a great narrator.

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  • Ms. L. Omielan
  • 04-02-21

This needs a movie

So fun to liSten to, I want to be in any film remake. Great to hear about women from this perspective.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Helly
  • 04-20-21

You must buy this book

It's a wonderfully interesting book, covering a whole range of con artists and our willingness to admire them. The narration is great and if you enjoy true crime podcasts, you'll enjoy this. Very similar vibe.

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  • Nicole a.
  • 02-25-21

delightful

a really interesting series of stories, well read and easy to follow, i would highly recommend this book