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Great New Zealand Robbery: The Extraordinary True Story of How Gangsters Pulled Off Our Most Audacious Heist

by Scott Bainbridge

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Reasons I decided to read this book.

I found it in the local equivalent of a Little Free Library.

And the iconic Northern Steamship Building is featured – a building I used to know well! My father worked for Northern Steam (who occupied the bottom floor) for just over twenty years. I believe he was their last paid employee when Ron Brierley gutted the company. (Dad then went to work for Brierley at another company)

It was a gorgeous building – very Dickensian inside. Dad used to take one or two of us kids in with him when he did a spot of Saturday overtime, & the manager quite often had his granddaughter & we would have a great time playing hide & seek, hiding in the cubby holes.

By Auckland War Memorial Museum – http://www.aucklandmuseum.com/collect…, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index…

This picture is from the 1920’s, but more recent pictures all seem to have scaffolding on it.

I went for a meal when it was the Northern Steamship restaurant & the interior was pretty much gutted. This was done well before the restaurant was in place. Last I heard it was a bar.

My dad never mentioned that a huge heist had taken place at the Waterfront Industry Commission’s offices (on the first floor – we were never allowed to go up there) around 10 years prior – there was no real reason he should. I wasn’t born at the time of the heist, & Mum & Dad were still living in Canada.

I’m a bit of true crime ghoul, but it turns out that doesn’t include burglaries & cracking safes. Or discussions on bank note numbering. Who knew? Plus Bainbridge without warning starts to treat this book as fiction with chunks of dialogue inserted. Very jarring.

I was interested in reading about NZ politician John Banks. Whatever you think about this controversial figure, his parents were a career criminal & a backstreet abortionist who both spent a good bit of Bank’s childhood in jail.

I think I would be more interested in a book about the Banks’ family.

DNF @ 37%.

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