From The Week, August 21, 2009:
Famed Jewel Thief Jailed
Joseph Carbone, aka "Condo Joe," a South Florida jewel thief renowned for his lock-picking skills, styolish dress, and jaunty manner, was sentenced to ten years in prison for breaking into a condo. Carbone, 62, for years had been a target of Miami detectives. He was known to entrust his car to valets during break-ins and occasionally would send a friendly note to his trackers in the police department. At his sentencing, Carbone told the court he intended to switch professions--to fiction writing. Retired detective Mike Crowley appeared doubtful: "Ernest Hemingway, he's not."
If Mr. Carbone does not yet have an agent and/or a publisher, I would be very surprised. I'd sign him up immediately.
Think about the elements of his story and why they'd make for such a great series:
1-A stylish gentleman protagonist who undoubtedly romances the ladies before stealing their jewels, leaving them with broken hearts but an inability to really get mad at the man.
2-Ample opportunities to do great things with the setting--Miami, home to everyone from the ultra-stylish to drug lords and gang members.
3-A nice way to write crime novels with little or zero violence, quite appealing to many readers (myself included).
4-The ability to teach the readers about a topic many will find interesting--jewels, jewelry, gems, the art of jewelry making, fakes and forgeries, legendary stones worn by actresses....
5-A superb way to set up a Jean Valjean/Inspector Javert-type game of cat and mouse to carry through several books, each smart in his in own way but with a grudging respect for the other.
6-Great climaxes/denouements as the carefully crafted plot unravels layers of deception to show how our very smart protagonist has stayed one step ahead of the cops.
As for Mr. Carbone being no Hemingway, I can think of plenty of very successful writers who are no Papa either.