On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History. Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, Edwin grabbed hundreds of bird skins–some collected 150 years earlier–and escaped into the darkness. What would possess a person to steal dead birds? What became of Edwin and the missing skins? The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, The Feather Thief is a fascinating exploration of obsession, and man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.
The Feather Thief
“Absorbing…Though it’s nonfiction, The Feather Thief contains many of the elements of a classic thriller.” – Maureen Corrigan NPR’s Fresh Air
A rollicking true-crime adventure and a captivating journey into an underground world of fanatical fly-tiers and plume peddlers.
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