Tricky Vic: The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower by Greg Pizzoli
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 10, 2015
In the early 1900s, Robert Miller, a.k.a. “Count Victor Lustig,” moved to Paris hoping to be an artist. A con artist, that is. He used his ingenious scams on unsuspecting marks all over the world, from the Czech Republic, to Atlantic ocean liners, and across America. Tricky Vic pulled off his most daring con in 1925, when he managed to "sell" the Eiffel Tower to one of the city’s most successful scrap metal dealers! Not once, but twice. Vic was never caught. For that particular scam, anyway.
Much like the Catch Me If You Can story, Tricky Vic is one of those tales that is so crazy that it has to be true. The author artfully tows the line between being an exciting action story and a cautionary tale concerning this skillful con artist. Like all con artists, it seems that greed was his ultimate downfall, but I enjoyed the book for what it was. There were great sidebars of information concerning a number of topics mentioned in the book as well, which would make it the perfect addition to any curriculum concerning the early 1900s. The illustrations were a fantastic addition to the story. Tricky Vic's character is portrayed by a man with a thumbprint for a head, which seemed like the perfect representation for a man who was many things, but never himself. The use of mixed media throughout was the perfect balance of stylized illustrations and historical photographs.