• Queen of the Con

  • From a Spiritualist to the Carnegie Imposter (True Crime History)
  • By: Thomas Crowl
  • Narrated by: Chaz Allen
  • Length: 12 hrs and 16 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Queen of the Con tells the true story of Cassie Chadwick, a successful swindler and “one of the top 10 imposters of all time”, according to TIME magazine. Born Betsy Bigley in 1857 in Canada, she first operated as Madame Devere, a European clairvoyant, and in 1890, was arrested for defrauding a Toledo bank of $20,000. In the mid-1890s, while working as a madam in Cleveland, Cassie met and married a widowed physician with a coveted Euclid Avenue address.

At the dawn of the 20th century, Cassie borrowed $2 million (worth roughly $50 million today) throughout northern Ohio, Pittsburgh, New York, and Boston by convincingly posing as the illegitimate daughter of wealthy industrialist-turned-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

When the fraud collapsed in 1904, it was a nationwide sensation. “Yes, I borrowed money in very large amounts,” she told reporters, “but what of it? You can’t accuse a poor businesswoman of being a criminal, can you?” Carnegie, who never responded to the claim, merely joked that Mrs. Chadwick had demonstrated that his credit was still good.

Crowl’s engaging storytelling leads listeners to consider aspects of gender stereotypes, social and economic class structures, and the ways in which we humans can so often be fooled.

The book is published by The Kent State University Press. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

“Spirited, engaging, and even hilarious in parts.” (Virginia A. McConnell, author of The Adventuress: Murder, Blackmail, and Confidence Games in the Gilded Age)

“An engrossing chronicle of the criminal career of Cassie Chadwick.” (George R. Dekle Sr., author of The East River Ripper)

“Weaving meticulous research with first-rate storytelling, Crowl has written about an extraordinary con woman.” (Jane Ann Turzillo, author of Agatha-nominated Wicked Women of Ohio)

©2021 The Kent State University Press (P)2022 Redwood Audiobooks

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