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Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World's Most Notorious Jewel Thief

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Soon to be a Major Motion Picture In the ebullient spirit of Ocean’s 8, The Heist, and Thelma & Louise, a sensational and entertaining memoir of the world’s most notorious jewel thief—a woman who defied society’s prejudices and norms to carve her own path, stealing from elite jewelers to live her dreams. Growing up during the Depression in the segregated coal town of Soon to be a Major Motion Picture In the ebullient spirit of Ocean’s 8, The Heist, and Thelma & Louise, a sensational and entertaining memoir of the world’s most notorious jewel thief—a woman who defied society’s prejudices and norms to carve her own path, stealing from elite jewelers to live her dreams. Growing up during the Depression in the segregated coal town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, Doris Payne was told her dreams were unattainable for poor black girls like her. Surrounded by people who sought to limit her potential, Doris vowed to turn the tables after the owner of a jewelry store threw her out when a white customer arrived. Neither racism nor poverty would hold her back; she would get what she wanted and help her mother escape an abusive relationship. Using her southern charm, quick wit, and fascination with magic as her tools, Payne began shoplifting small pieces of jewelry from local stores. Over the course of six decades, her talents grew with each heist. Becoming an expert world-class jewel thief, she daringly pulled off numerous diamond robberies and her Jewish boyfriend fenced the stolen gems to Hollywood celebrities. Doris’s criminal exploits went unsolved well into the 1970s—partly because the stores did not want to admit that they were duped by a black woman. Eventually realizing Doris was using him, her boyfriend turned her in. She was arrested after stealing a diamond ring in Monte Carlo that was valued at more than half a million dollars. But even prison couldn’t contain this larger-than-life personality who cleverly used nuns as well as various ruses to help her break out. With her arrest in 2013 in San Diego, Doris’s fame skyrocketed when media coverage of her astonishing escapades exploded. Today, at eighty-seven, Doris, as bold and vibrant as ever, lives in Atlanta, and is celebrated for her glamorous legacy. She sums up her adventurous career best: “It beat being a teacher or a maid.” A rip-roaringly fun and exciting story as captivating and audacious as Catch Me if You Can and Can You Ever Forgive Me?—Diamond Doris is the portrait of a captivating anti-hero who refused to be defined by the prejudices and mores of a hypocritical society.  


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Soon to be a Major Motion Picture In the ebullient spirit of Ocean’s 8, The Heist, and Thelma & Louise, a sensational and entertaining memoir of the world’s most notorious jewel thief—a woman who defied society’s prejudices and norms to carve her own path, stealing from elite jewelers to live her dreams. Growing up during the Depression in the segregated coal town of Soon to be a Major Motion Picture In the ebullient spirit of Ocean’s 8, The Heist, and Thelma & Louise, a sensational and entertaining memoir of the world’s most notorious jewel thief—a woman who defied society’s prejudices and norms to carve her own path, stealing from elite jewelers to live her dreams. Growing up during the Depression in the segregated coal town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, Doris Payne was told her dreams were unattainable for poor black girls like her. Surrounded by people who sought to limit her potential, Doris vowed to turn the tables after the owner of a jewelry store threw her out when a white customer arrived. Neither racism nor poverty would hold her back; she would get what she wanted and help her mother escape an abusive relationship. Using her southern charm, quick wit, and fascination with magic as her tools, Payne began shoplifting small pieces of jewelry from local stores. Over the course of six decades, her talents grew with each heist. Becoming an expert world-class jewel thief, she daringly pulled off numerous diamond robberies and her Jewish boyfriend fenced the stolen gems to Hollywood celebrities. Doris’s criminal exploits went unsolved well into the 1970s—partly because the stores did not want to admit that they were duped by a black woman. Eventually realizing Doris was using him, her boyfriend turned her in. She was arrested after stealing a diamond ring in Monte Carlo that was valued at more than half a million dollars. But even prison couldn’t contain this larger-than-life personality who cleverly used nuns as well as various ruses to help her break out. With her arrest in 2013 in San Diego, Doris’s fame skyrocketed when media coverage of her astonishing escapades exploded. Today, at eighty-seven, Doris, as bold and vibrant as ever, lives in Atlanta, and is celebrated for her glamorous legacy. She sums up her adventurous career best: “It beat being a teacher or a maid.” A rip-roaringly fun and exciting story as captivating and audacious as Catch Me if You Can and Can You Ever Forgive Me?—Diamond Doris is the portrait of a captivating anti-hero who refused to be defined by the prejudices and mores of a hypocritical society.  

30 review for Diamond Doris: The True Story of the World's Most Notorious Jewel Thief

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I had never heard of Doris Payne the notorious life-long jewel thief until I just happened to spot this at the library. She's a fascinating woman that's for sure. If you liked Ocean's, you're going to have to pick up this memoir. I have to say that I'm looking forward to the movie of her life featuring Tessa Thompson as Doris.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nandi Crawford

    Great book. Reads like a rollercoaster. How this lady did this and had little jail time is incredible.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Temika

    This will be one of the most entertaining memoirs you ever read! I could not put this down. This book is divided into 4 parts: Color: It’s fascinating how childhood and media can shape how we view ourselves and what decisions we make. Representation matters! Clarity: Doris realized she had the communication skills necessary to make store clerks forget they gave her jewelry to try on. Confusion and familiarity. Cut: The Cartier heist! She breaks down the history and process of how diamonds get to This will be one of the most entertaining memoirs you ever read! I could not put this down. This book is divided into 4 parts: Color: It’s fascinating how childhood and media can shape how we view ourselves and what decisions we make. Representation matters! Clarity: Doris realized she had the communication skills necessary to make store clerks forget they gave her jewelry to try on. Confusion and familiarity. Cut: The Cartier heist! She breaks down the history and process of how diamonds get to jewelers as she takes you through the story of her 3 day heist in Europe. She had me on edge not knowing if she would get caught. Carat: The weight of it all. Doris is older and life is catching up to her. People close to her are inevitably dying. Technology has advanced and she can no longer fool the police.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Law

    A riveting read by a Black woman who became the world's most wanted diamond thief. I was intrigued by her justification for stealing diamonds (that they had initially been stolen from Africa just as her people had been stolen from Africa), but I did wonder if that was her rationale at the time or if this was something that came to her in hindsight. I also loved reading about her unconventional relationships, first with Babe (the married Jewish man who fenced her diamonds) and then her 25-year A riveting read by a Black woman who became the world's most wanted diamond thief. I was intrigued by her justification for stealing diamonds (that they had initially been stolen from Africa just as her people had been stolen from Africa), but I did wonder if that was her rationale at the time or if this was something that came to her in hindsight. I also loved reading about her unconventional relationships, first with Babe (the married Jewish man who fenced her diamonds) and then her 25-year relationship with Kenneth who resigned himself to never being allowed to spend the night at her house, but would send his grown daughter to Europe to help Doris get out of police jams.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fredrick Danysh

    Doris Paker was an international jewel thief. With the assistance of Zelda Lockhart she tells her life's story. The quality of writing varies with the autobiography part reading like it was writtrn by someone with a very limited education while the sidebars regarding the quality of diamonds is much better written. Diamond Doris gives a detailed look into the mind of a person who has chosen a life of crime This was a free proof copy obtained through Goodreads.com.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I enjoyed reading about Doris' life as a daughter, a mother and a jewel thief. I liked her candid, plucky way of telling her story.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Belinda

    I have never heard of Doris Payne before coming across this book on Hoopla. The cover with a black woman that said "the true story of the world's most notorious jewel thief" was all I needed to see to peak my interest. So I searched for it at my local library and checked out the book. This book is the story of Doris Payne, who grew up in Slab-fork, West Virginia, the daughter of a coal-miner. Doris tells her story growing up poor with a father that abuses her mother. Her love for her mother and I have never heard of Doris Payne before coming across this book on Hoopla. The cover with a black woman that said "the true story of the world's most notorious jewel thief" was all I needed to see to peak my interest. So I searched for it at my local library and checked out the book. This book is the story of Doris Payne, who grew up in Slab-fork, West Virginia, the daughter of a coal-miner. Doris tells her story growing up poor with a father that abuses her mother. Her love for her mother and her belief of a better life, lead her to aspire to finding a way to get her and her mother out of Slab-fork. She discovers her "gift" of distracting people so that she can take what she wants and uses it to finance her plans to live a different life with her mother. I found this story so engaging. I was impressed with how much research and preperations Doris made for each heist. She was not a petty thief by any means. I found out that there was a documentary made but I believe that it was unauthorized. So I will wait for the the movie and hope that it does get her sign off before watching it. This is another example of why books are so wonderful, that this story that I have heard nothing of, should come to light. Read it!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Absolutely encourages me to steal more and abandon all men. Would recommend.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    For over six decades, Doris Marie Payne was one of the world’s most notorious jewel thieves. Her memoir takes the reader on a journey that starts with her upbringing in the segregated coalmines of West Virginia in the late 1950s to her prison sentence in 2013. This single, African American mother of two explains how she used her charm, wit, and beauty to get away with some of the most prominent jewelry heists in history. She traveled all around the world, stealing valuable pieces from high-end For over six decades, Doris Marie Payne was one of the world’s most notorious jewel thieves. Her memoir takes the reader on a journey that starts with her upbringing in the segregated coalmines of West Virginia in the late 1950s to her prison sentence in 2013. This single, African American mother of two explains how she used her charm, wit, and beauty to get away with some of the most prominent jewelry heists in history. She traveled all around the world, stealing valuable pieces from high-end jewelers. Doris recalls the horrible memories of racism and watching her mother endure physical and emotional abuse by her father. Those circumstances placed a shield around her heart, which made her vow never to let anyone mistreat her. Doris Payne's memoir is very entertaining; each escapade had me on edge.

  10. 4 out of 5

    BMR, LCSW

    Doris Payne is a baaaaad b!tch. She grew up in West Virginia, the daughter of a wife-beating coal miner. She decided at an early age that no man was gonna control her. She also decided she wanted a life of travel and fine things. She fell into a life of jewelry theft and fencing (though when you're dealing with big ticket items, you "resell" it, it's not fencing). She got caught a few times but served very little time in prisons. Doris never forgot where she came from, and always took care of her Doris Payne is a baaaaad b!tch. She grew up in West Virginia, the daughter of a wife-beating coal miner. She decided at an early age that no man was gonna control her. She also decided she wanted a life of travel and fine things. She fell into a life of jewelry theft and fencing (though when you're dealing with big ticket items, you "resell" it, it's not fencing). She got caught a few times but served very little time in prisons. Doris never forgot where she came from, and always took care of her mama. Recommended for a fast, fun read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Storme

    I picked this up because I thought it was going to be more interesting. Yes, I was able to read it in one sitting. But I got bored as well. The story was a little rough in some places... like I understand it’s told from the actual person, but it could have been more polished. I loved the voice and her way of speaking, I just struggled with the stories sometimes being a little jumbled and not cohesive. I’m looking forward to the movie. Overall, this isn’t a bad memoir... it’s just not the best.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Crystal Zavala

    Diamond Doris is a true crime memoir. I do believe her to be an unreliable narrator, so I took a lot of what she said with a grain of salt. I do not question that Doris had a horrific upbringing and childhood. Her father was controlling and abusive. Doris made a choice at a young age and decided that she would not be dependent on a man to support her. I do not condone how Doris chose to support herself, but I am fascinated with her story. She has a big ego and does not seem to have any remorse Diamond Doris is a true crime memoir. I do believe her to be an unreliable narrator, so I took a lot of what she said with a grain of salt. I do not question that Doris had a horrific upbringing and childhood. Her father was controlling and abusive. Doris made a choice at a young age and decided that she would not be dependent on a man to support her. I do not condone how Doris chose to support herself, but I am fascinated with her story. She has a big ego and does not seem to have any remorse for what she did. For how smart she is, I wonder if she would have been able to put those smarts to better use? I can not pretend to understand what her world and circumstances were like. Doris was born in 1930 at the beginning of The Great Depression and before WWII. I do not believe that Doris would have been able to get away with her thefts if she had been born in another era. She was able to create her persona, travel, steal, and get away before communication of the crime could spread. She was caught numerous times, but was able to talk or pay her way out of it. If she couldn't get out of it, she served minimal time. She was wanted by Interpol, the FBI, and numerous other policing entities. Most of her crimes have surpassed the statute of limitations for charges. It should be noted, according to the Orange County Register, Doris has said "a book deal will help her financially". I listened to the audio version of this book and Robin Miles is an amazing narrator!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Paula Pergament

    Doris Payne is a genius; armed with a keen sense of observation into human behavior, Ms. Payne shares her story of her long and prolific career as a jewel thief. Her methods were simple, her planning tight. Readers gain insight into her motivations, as well as the pressures and fears she conquered in executing her plans and escapes. Brought down in part by modern technology as well as her reputation, Ms. Payne tells her story without shame. Most compelling is her attempt to justify her actions Doris Payne is a genius; armed with a keen sense of observation into human behavior, Ms. Payne shares her story of her long and prolific career as a jewel thief. Her methods were simple, her planning tight. Readers gain insight into her motivations, as well as the pressures and fears she conquered in executing her plans and escapes. Brought down in part by modern technology as well as her reputation, Ms. Payne tells her story without shame. Most compelling is her attempt to justify her actions to her mother. Armed only with an eighth grade education and coming of age during a time of racial violence, Ms. Payne's determination to live life on her own terms without being tied down is a compelling story. This is one of those real life stories that would be unbelievable if it weren't true.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    This was a 3.5 read for me thoughts coming shortly

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chuck

    This is an enjoyable romp through the life of Doris Payne, an international criminal with a penchant for stealing diamond jewelry. Having perfected the art of of engaging and distracting sales personnel, Payne pulled off heists in Monte Carlo, Tokyo, Paris, Athens, and numerous upscale stores in the United States. She documents many of these escapades here, but her account nevertheless seems selective, perhaps necessarily so, given seven decades of criminal activity. Payne, the daughter of an This is an enjoyable romp through the life of Doris Payne, an international criminal with a penchant for stealing diamond jewelry. Having perfected the art of of engaging and distracting sales personnel, Payne pulled off heists in Monte Carlo, Tokyo, Paris, Athens, and numerous upscale stores in the United States. She documents many of these escapades here, but her account nevertheless seems selective, perhaps necessarily so, given seven decades of criminal activity. Payne, the daughter of an abusive coal miner, was born in Slab Fork, West Virginia. She developed a taste for haute couture from her mother's magazines, from which she cut out advertisements to make her own paper dolls, focusing on models wearing diamond rings, bracelets and earrings. It's testimony to Payne's gentle persuasiveness that she comes across as a highly sympathetic character, despite the fact that a great many businesses were looted (presumably, their losses were typically covered by insurance). More than once she offers the justification that diamonds were mined by exploited African laborers, so she was simply taking back what had been taken by others. Written with Zelda Lockhart, Diamond Doris is brisk entertainment. Payne names people and places, so there's clearly some truth in her story, but one suspects that there may be embellishments and important missing elements. After all, an account by a highly accomplished con artist has to be taken with a grain of salt. Payne says as much herself:So now you know the true story of Doris Payne. Did I imagine some of this, make it up, elaborate it, polish it like a good diamond, make you want to look at it -- make you smile? You have to decide. [p. 265]

  16. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    I’m not going to quote you exactly but at the end of this novel she writes, you can believe whether this story is true or not that’s up to you! Hilarious!! Listening to this audiobook was fascinating to me. Here is this women using what God gave her and robbing jewelry stores. I don’t think you could do now what she did then. It’s all cameras and technology now. She made no qualms about her lifestyle. I think the part I enjoyed the most was how this book was written. It’s as if Miss Doris was I’m not going to quote you exactly but at the end of this novel she writes, you can believe whether this story is true or not that’s up to you! Hilarious!! Listening to this audiobook was fascinating to me. Here is this women using what God gave her and robbing jewelry stores. I don’t think you could do now what she did then. It’s all cameras and technology now. She made no qualms about her lifestyle. I think the part I enjoyed the most was how this book was written. It’s as if Miss Doris was sitting in front of you over dinner and drinks telling you her life story. There’s no political correctness or censorship, just a real conversation about her life. People are complaining it’s written poorly or she embellished her story. It’s written in a way that makes you want to read/listen in a day. Sometimes, you just gotta take it for what it is and enjoy it,I sure did.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Audra

    Wow. Born in 1930 and still living. Doris is a black woman who ultimately became an international jewel thief because one day when Slab Fork, West Virginia, when she was a little girl, a white man made her feel like less than nothing simply because of the color of her skin. Her autobiography reads like a James Bond type novel. I would give anything to have been a fly on the wall to watch her work. Is what she did right? That's not for me to decide. But I do know that diamonds are stolen from Wow. Born in 1930 and still living. Doris is a black woman who ultimately became an international jewel thief because one day when Slab Fork, West Virginia, when she was a little girl, a white man made her feel like less than nothing simply because of the color of her skin. Her autobiography reads like a James Bond type novel. I would give anything to have been a fly on the wall to watch her work. Is what she did right? That's not for me to decide. But I do know that diamonds are stolen from Africa and its a billion dollar industry -- and Africans see NONE of that money -- so.... Doris, you're a badass. Thank you for the thrills, the laughs, and even the tears. This is a riveting read and well worth your time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Weekend Reader_

    I thought going into this story it would a lavish life about this notorious woman but no. Doris "Dink" Payne's story is rooted in pain and survival that ultimately ended in her being alone, preyed on, and using mulsce memory almost compulsively to steal. She is a domestic violence survivor that used stealing to make a better life for her family. Her motive was not to have to depend on a man or be subservient. However, she had only had an 8th grade education but she was determined. Payne's story I thought going into this story it would a lavish life about this notorious woman but no. Doris "Dink" Payne's story is rooted in pain and survival that ultimately ended in her being alone, preyed on, and using mulsce memory almost compulsively to steal. She is a domestic violence survivor that used stealing to make a better life for her family. Her motive was not to have to depend on a man or be subservient. However, she had only had an 8th grade education but she was determined. Payne's story wasn't glamorous Ocean 11 narrative at all this wasn't a rich person being bored. It was sad 😢 I wonder how the film will handle her story.

  19. 5 out of 5

    SuperWendy

    This was a really good listen on audio with the narrator making me laugh out loud several times when the narration went into what I call "child, please - gossiping with your best girlfriend"-mode. Payne's story is definitely stranger than fiction, and illustrates that people see what they want to see - which made Doris very, very good at her "job." Unfortunately, that's kind of how the book comes off at times, like Payne is only showing readers what she wants us to see. Especially towards the This was a really good listen on audio with the narrator making me laugh out loud several times when the narration went into what I call "child, please - gossiping with your best girlfriend"-mode. Payne's story is definitely stranger than fiction, and illustrates that people see what they want to see - which made Doris very, very good at her "job." Unfortunately, that's kind of how the book comes off at times, like Payne is only showing readers what she wants us to see. Especially towards the closing chapters that felt a bit glossed over in some ways. Still a wild ride though, and one I enjoyed. Here's hoping a competent producer lands the film rights.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Diana

    3+ stars. A fun, quick read that had me laughing out loud at times.

  21. 4 out of 5

    booksbythecup

    3.5- "Under no circumstances did I want a 'normal' life--a normal, regular, everyday Black life. No way. Being humiliated at work. Paycheck to paycheck. Church on Sundays. Regular clothes. Routine relationships that don't go nowhere. Absolutely not. Not Miss Doris Payne. I wanted more than that. I wanted nice things. I wanted to travel the world. Normal was not me." Miss Doris Payne commanded the audiences full attention at the Decatur Book Festival (DBF 2019). The place was packed as we eagerly 3.5🌟- "Under no circumstances did I want a 'normal' life--a normal, regular, everyday Black life. No way. Being humiliated at work. Paycheck to paycheck. Church on Sundays. Regular clothes. Routine relationships that don't go nowhere. Absolutely not. Not Miss Doris Payne. I wanted more than that. I wanted nice things. I wanted to travel the world. Normal was not me." 
Miss Doris Payne commanded the audiences full attention at the Decatur Book Festival (DBF 2019). The place was packed as we eagerly await a small nugget of insight into her life and career as a notorious jewel thief. She's a phenomenal woman, graceful and refined, regal and beautiful for 88 years young. The motivation behind Miss Payne's career left me eager to pick up her book to find out more. 
Payne grew up in the segregated Southern US, a coal mining town in West Virginia. She was smart but recognized early in life she wanted independence for herself and vowed to never let a man beat (control) her as she’d seen her father physically beat and abuse her mother. She was determined to get her mother away from the abuse and as she said at the book festival, she didn't care what other people thought. As a young child she figured out a way to snub those who treated her as worthless because of her skin color, a lesson she learned in the store of a Jewish man named Mr Benjamin. When she saw how he changed in front of a white man, but forgetting he’d allowed Doris fo try on some watches, she’d figured out how she’d finance the kind of life she wanted. 
Miss Payne started small, honing her skills and eventually took on the world in her jewelry heists. As she observed everyday life, shopping at the farmers market with her mother, she saw discovered a very important key to her work as a jewelry thief. 
"But I uncovered the keys to getting away with stealing jewels: confusion and familiarity." 
It's noteworthy too that because Payne had made the right connections, people in positions of authority, who would be some of the people who would buy the stolen jewelry from one of her business partner. In this way, Payne would sometimes go through the motion of turning herself in, but because she didn't have the jewels and there was no proof (security cameras' concrete evidence), her exploits grew by leaps and bounds. She stole a lot of jewelry but because she 'played the part' of belonging, being deserving, she could con (confuse) some of the most experience jewelry clerks. 
Payne had a full and long career, she spent little time incarcerated over the course of her work. I enjoyed her story but, there felt like some pieces were missing. I suppose it's not easy to document the many years of her work, but what bothered me most was the uneven tone/writing of the book. The tone felt unauthentic or maybe a better word, is the tone shifted. Perhaps the co-author made some of what Payne would have said many years ago sound too modern, like something a younger person would say today. Some of the idioms and terminology didn't feel like something a woman in her late eighties would say, now or then. Especially since I heard her speak at the book festival too. I expected to hear the authenticity of Miss Payne VOICE as well as her exploits. I have a grandmother a little younger than Payne and I tried to imagine the nuances of her speech, being from the same her generation as Payne's, to capture and experience her voice while reading, but it faded in and out, and didn't feel like what I remembered hearing. 
And there are soooo many instances of the sh** word, I wanted to ask if someone during could have done a word search when proofing and used do a synonyms because the repetitive use of that word was RIDICULOUS and so UNNECESSARY. A few times, sure, but my goodness, I feel sure Payne had a larger vocabulary. I cringed every time it was fired off back to back to back. I asked myself, does Payne and everyone she knows speak this way? I know we can put our best foot forward when we introduce ourselves to someone but based on the book festival interview, it felt off to me. These things took away from the overall tone of the book for me. 
One thing for sure, Payne didn’t “catch a case” that involved her doing any long term jail time. She knew what she wanted, studied her craft and made sure she took care of herself and her family on her terms. I laugh when I think about her saying that, about not catching a case, when someone asked her at the book festival why she didn't stop her career as she got older. Very sad she lost several family members and friends to cancer.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This was found on a library "new" shelf and sounded intriguing. Now just after finishing this quick read- I can't say it was. It was rather interesting and a peculiar type of detailed display of a personality disorder. But it was not written well, especially within chronological continuity, but also in the word play too. I am rather shocked by the ratings here. And it isn't the dialect or the tone of the dialogue either. It's voids. And it's lack of complete progressions. You KNOW why and you This was found on a library "new" shelf and sounded intriguing. Now just after finishing this quick read- I can't say it was. It was rather interesting and a peculiar type of detailed display of a personality disorder. But it was not written well, especially within chronological continuity, but also in the word play too. I am rather shocked by the ratings here. And it isn't the dialect or the tone of the dialogue either. It's voids. And it's lack of complete progressions. You KNOW why and you KNOW why again (her family abuse etc. plus her constant fixation on protecting her mother)- but you really don't know much else. Doris never marries, and she has good reasons to make that decision. And her life is all in segments of place and identity. Many times often differing to non-recognition for/by people in those segments. So I do "hear" that it would have been difficult to tell this well. But she needed to get better help, or a more savvy ghost writer. This is just plain vague in great portions. Hoping and jumping to places too. Other than the thieving skills, I don't think you get much of Doris pure except for the narcissism and gem appreciation/ stealing aspect. What did blare out at me was her thinking processes. Especially her "fair" equivalents and also her lack of any remorse. Overall, her "good" or "worthy" is so off that I ended up feeling she was pathetic overall. This is an example of a cognition that got set super early by events observed and stayed within a world view or objective concern forever "after" childhood. Personality disorders that solidified early to this extreme degree are actually more rare than not. Certainly this particular type is. She would never, ever get away with 2/3rds of her ploys now as she did in the last century. Too many cameras and also much more knowledge about the "con". Especially in the fields and peoples' cultures she hit the most over the decades of self-enriching. I would not recommend this book. Also beware that it contains physical abuse and reaction that is physical abuse. Throwing a pot of boiling matter on someone's back is not as trivial as she posited here either. These readers forgive Doris nearly anything. Maybe for her verve and style?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gina Ulicny

    2.5. And that may be generous. The story line keeps you interested, but it ends leaving you flat. I love memoirs, but this is one of my least favorites. The best part was a book discussion with 2 friends who read it right before I did. I enjoyed her ‘yarn’ storytelling, and her independence, Confidence, determination came across quite strong. She is a jewel thief, a very proud criminal. Eventually Doris crossed her own line and got involved with cocaine, so now more people, children, are hurt by 2.5. And that may be generous. The story line keeps you interested, but it ends leaving you flat. I love memoirs, but this is one of my least favorites. The best part was a book discussion with 2 friends who read it right before I did. I enjoyed her ‘yarn’ storytelling, and her independence, Confidence, determination came across quite strong. She is a jewel thief, a very proud criminal. Eventually Doris crossed her own line and got involved with cocaine, so now more people, children, are hurt by her actions....she justified this because she had her mom's medical bills to pay (I was happy that it seemed her mom did find a good honest man who truly loved her), but she did the same as those who stole from Mother Africa..... so what is the lesson? An eye for an eye? I think, maybe I'm wrong, that she used that line of thinking as she aged to help justify her unjustifiable chosen lifestyle, and didn't really care about anyone other than herself - and her mama. Nothing in her story even gives and inkling to anything she ever did outside of taking care of herself...... to me that is a sad life. Quite sad. She was deeply connected to her mom, but it seems wasn't able to duplicate that love and sacrifice with her own daughter or son. Never shows, or at least didn't share, any remorse for being an absentee mother. One who chose s life of crime so she could pretend to be what she wasn’t. In the end her life shows that she was more like her father than her mother.... She's been to glorious places, lived parts of her life as a 'famous' pampered woman, is still quite attractive and charming and fun.... but empty, all hollow, she has nothing. A life of pretending. Is there any lesson or intrinsic gift she has given to her children or anyone? I wonder IF her life would have taken a different turn had her father had been a decent man..... posssibly, but not sure.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

    This is the kind of story where you have to go to outside sources to confirm it really happened. Doris Payne was - or rather is since she is still alive - a jewel thief that specialized in diamonds. She not only could talk the talk, but she could walk the walk. Dressed in expensive name-brand clothing in the most fashionable sense, wearing real diamonds that she purchased with money received from previous heists, talked with the friendly and courteous staff while trying on numerous rings and This is the kind of story where you have to go to outside sources to confirm it really happened. Doris Payne was - or rather is since she is still alive - a jewel thief that specialized in diamonds. She not only could talk the talk, but she could walk the walk. Dressed in expensive name-brand clothing in the most fashionable sense, wearing real diamonds that she purchased with money received from previous heists, talked with the friendly and courteous staff while trying on numerous rings and when the associate lost track of the number of pieces being displayed, she'd 'forget' that there was still one more piece (or more) still on her finger as she walked out of the store. Literally. And she got away with it for decades. She would make her hit and immediately get on a plane, bus, train and leave the area. Always courteous and polite, she was continually underestimated and she took advantage of it. It is only with the introduction of security cameras - some jewelry dealers hesitated to install them because they could claim higher amounts from the insurance companies for the stolen goods - that she was finally identified. But they still never were able to find the stolen property since she got rid of it immediately. The book goes into her childhood - her father was a coal miner that beat her mother. Her own children. Friends. Associates. Why she never married. Payne does come across as a bit arrogant but she was good at the job she chose. She took advantage of her charm and attractiveness as well as the workers desire for a sale - the bigger, the better for their commissions. Perhaps, it would be better to say that she was larger than life. And what a life she has had. 2019-145

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    At age 88, Doris Payne (assisted by Zelda Lockhart) looks back at her six decades as an international jewel thief. Diamond Doris is the first time Payne has revealed all aspects of her remarkable life, including the techniques she used to walk out of world-famous jewelry stores with rings worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. She and her five siblings were raised in a poor, segregated coal mining town in West Virginia by her boorish black father and doting Native American mother. Early on, At age 88, Doris Payne (assisted by Zelda Lockhart) looks back at her six decades as an international jewel thief. Diamond Doris is the first time Payne has revealed all aspects of her remarkable life, including the techniques she used to walk out of world-famous jewelry stores with rings worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. She and her five siblings were raised in a poor, segregated coal mining town in West Virginia by her boorish black father and doting Native American mother. Early on, Payne found she had a talent for stealing things. It put food on her family's table and quickly became a lucrative career when she began visiting high-end jewelry stores. By dressing elegantly and wearing an impressive wedding ring set, she became "a woman of class, not a woman on a mission to steal." And her constant chatter kept storekeepers off-balance long enough for her to perform a sleight of hand. In 1974, she was apprehended in Monte Carlo after stealing a 10.5 carat diamond ring worth $550,000 at the time. She was held for nine months but not charged because the authorities couldn't find the ring she'd hidden. Rather than being intimidated by her incarceration, when she escaped, she devised and executed a four-day plan to steal from three top jewelers in London, Paris and Rome. Payne is a feisty anti-hero who refused to be defined by the prejudices and mores of a hypocritical society. Even when she was forced to serve prison time in her 80s. Diamond Doris's captivating capers are audacious and entertaining. Feisty octogenarian international jewel thief Doris Payne reveals her captivating and audacious capers that span six decades.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    While Doris may have led an exciting and adventurous life, the poor writing style of this book made it very hard to enjoy. My assumption is that they author(s) decided to have the style reflect Doris' upbringing, education, and how she spoke. However, combine that with a narrative that jumped around and it made for a messy read. Other things that decreased my enjoyment of what should have been a fascinating read were Doris' need to ethnically identify every single person she interacted with. The While Doris may have led an exciting and adventurous life, the poor writing style of this book made it very hard to enjoy. My assumption is that they author(s) decided to have the style reflect Doris' upbringing, education, and how she spoke. However, combine that with a narrative that jumped around and it made for a messy read. Other things that decreased my enjoyment of what should have been a fascinating read were Doris' need to ethnically identify every single person she interacted with. The nationality of her taxi cab drivers had no impact on the story. Likewise, the translation of the dollar amount of the items she stole, etc, from the value then to now got annoying. A few times would have sufficed. Between that and her continual comments regarding how men wanted to sleep with her well into 70s turned the story into a farce. Somewhere in this lump of coal is a diamond. I just wish someone would have made more of an attempt to find it! Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie F

    I’ve been intrigued by Doris Payne and her decades long “career” as an international jewel thief ever since watching a documentary about her life a few years ago. Ok first things first, you read this book for entertainment purposes only not because of any real literary value it provides. With that said, I enjoyed the content of the book but the book was’t particularly well written which left me often frustrated. There were times where the voice slips from Doris to the co-author which made those I’ve been intrigued by Doris Payne and her decades long “career” as an international jewel thief ever since watching a documentary about her life a few years ago. Ok first things first, you read this book for entertainment purposes only not because of any real literary value it provides. With that said, I enjoyed the content of the book but the book was’t particularly well written which left me often frustrated. There were times where the voice slips from Doris to the co-author which made those parts uninteresting to read. Also, there were several places I had to reread sentences because of the awkward way things were worded. It’s a quick easy-ish read so it wasn’t too much of a problem just more annoying than anything. All and all the content was pretty entertaining just wish it was better written.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Diamond Doris is not worth my time. I thought this would be an interesting read. I am amazed the publisher released it. I think it would have been better if it was better written and polished. Perhaps by another writer. I was disappointed. I read about 120 pages and said to myself, enough. It didn't perk my interest enough I guess. It may have been I watched a documentary yesterday. I received the book as a galley from Harper Collins. For me, I would not recommend it. I have other books worth Diamond Doris is not worth my time. I thought this would be an interesting read. I am amazed the publisher released it. I think it would have been better if it was better written and polished. Perhaps by another writer. I was disappointed. I read about 120 pages and said to myself, enough. It didn't perk my interest enough I guess. It may have been I watched a documentary yesterday. I received the book as a galley from Harper Collins. For me, I would not recommend it. I have other books worth reading than this. I was disappointed. It could be that Doris had no remorse what she did. She also continues to get away with stealing even to this day. She gives the reason," I don't have to depend on a man". Her life story seems so far fetched as well.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Doris Payne has led an interesting life and the book captures her spirit perfectly. I liked the writing style, so kudos to the assistant author Zelda Lockhart. Together, the book tells a cohesive story about how Doris grew up and the influences she had that helped her become a notorious jewel thief. It reads more like a novel so I would recommend this for people who don't like reading nonfiction/memoirs. My only complaint is that the ending feels very rushed. I was starting to lose track of the Doris Payne has led an interesting life and the book captures her spirit perfectly. I liked the writing style, so kudos to the assistant author Zelda Lockhart. Together, the book tells a cohesive story about how Doris grew up and the influences she had that helped her become a notorious jewel thief. It reads more like a novel so I would recommend this for people who don't like reading nonfiction/memoirs. My only complaint is that the ending feels very rushed. I was starting to lose track of the timeline.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jaipal

    This is an autobiographical account of Doris Payne, from her childhood to being one of the most notorious jewel thieves in Europe and the USA. The story is extraordinary and is very easy to read. However, Doris said towards the end that some of the things in the book might not be accurate. The story doesn't go into the psychology of why she took all those jewels. It's an autobiography so it tells who Doris is and a bit of the reason she did what she did. The actual jewel thefts and her escapes are This is an autobiographical account of Doris Payne, from her childhood to being one of the most notorious jewel thieves in Europe and the USA. The story is extraordinary and is very easy to read. However, Doris said towards the end that some of the things in the book might not be accurate. The story doesn't go into the psychology of why she took all those jewels. It's an autobiography so it tells who Doris is and a bit of the reason she did what she did. The actual jewel thefts and her escapes are remarkable. I would highly recommend this book.

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