I’m a sucker for heist movies, and Greg Pizzoli wisely realizes, with this book, that kids may find themselves unaccountably drawn to clever bad guys, too. Without glorifying him, Pizzoli tells the story of Robert Miller, aka Count Victor Lustig, the man who tricked the wealthy into giving him thousands, sold the Eiffel Tower, and escaped from jail before being successfully locked away.

The illustrations are sleek and sophisticated (and there’s an interesting note in the back matter about how he did the art) and the book includes several sidebars about topics like Prohibition, counterfeiting, and the Eiffel Tower’s critics. Pizzoli included an impressive bibliography and an interesting author’s note where he talks about trying to figure out the narrative arc of the book and the real world cons still going on today in Paris.

Betsy Bird has a thoughtful review of the book at Fuse #8, and there’s a podcast at “Stuff You Missed in History Class,” completely unrelated to the book but about the man.

Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli. Viking: 2015