By Miles Harvey

The Island of misplaced Maps tells the tale of a curious crime spree: the robbery of ratings of worthwhile centuries-old maps from one of the most famous examine libraries within the usa and Canada. The offender was once Gilbert Joseph Bland, Jr., an enigmatic antiques broker from South Florida, whose cross-country slash-and-dash operation had long gone almost undetected until eventually he was once stuck in 1995–and was once unmasked because the so much prolific American map thief in historical past. As Miles Harvey unravels the secret of Bland’s lifestyles, he maps out the area of cartography and cartographic crime, weaving jointly a desirable tale of exploration, craftsmanship, villainy, and the entice of the unknown.

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Yet you're not keeping a pen. Your border is limned with chilly metal. THE PEABODY LIBRARY’S GRAND STACK ROOM, FROM AN 1879 ENGRAVING. bankruptcy 6 The Invisible Crime Spree THE GHOST OF LLOYD A. BROWN was once no longer happy. He floated invisible amid the mote-speckled air of the Grand Stack Room, nervously chewing his pipe or rubbing his bald pate, his hairy eyebrows arched with pressure. In lifestyles, Brown have been head librarian on the Peabody. whereas there he brought the 1st sleek air flow process to the construction, overhauled the superseded card catalog, introduced a crusade to degrime countless numbers of books, and, as a part of that attempt, took it upon himself to for my part check up on the contents of each shelf on all six ranges. 1 yet his largest accomplishment, in the course of a tenure that ran from 1942 until eventually 1956, used to be his efforts no longer as a librarian yet as an writer. His groundbreaking ebook, the tale of Maps, released in 1949, set the normal for all cartographic histories to come—and continues to be in print greater than fifty years later. with out formal education in cartography, Brown had now not been an noticeable candidate to write down this type of quantity, yet he’d had a number of merits going for him. the 1st used to be an obsession with outdated maps. “If you get bitten by means of a flea, i suppose you should stay with it,” he as soon as joked. 2 the second one used to be his personal library’s amazing assortment. In discovering the tale of Maps, Brown had had to seek advice greater than books. He thrilled in recounting that each one yet ten of them have been came upon at the cabinets of the Peabody. three considering the fact that his dying in 1966, Lloyd A. Brown had led a contented spectral life amid his loved books. Or not less than that’s the way in which I think him. What a superb factor interpreting should have been, while unencumbered by means of the earthly pressures of time! you can still linger on each be aware. No quantity used to be too lengthy, no passage too dense, no topic too unusual, no metaphor too vague, no overseas script too unintelligible. One needn't depression, as in lifestyles, in regards to the books one might by no means find a way to open or reopen. Lloyd Brown had long past to heaven, and it was once referred to as the Grand Stack Room. And so issues may need remained, if now not for the intruder—the hated one that crept into the library sooner or later, seated himself at one in every of Brown’s favourite previous tables, and, because the ghost hovered helplessly above, started to slice up books. Worse: map books—the ones Brown had cradled so frequently, so tenderly, for therefore decades, those that had succored his mind and mind's eye, those that had given him a feeling of goal, those that had ensured his identify might live to tell the tale lengthy after he handed into the area of the spirits. It was once as though that razor blade used to be not only slicing paper yet severing Brown’s ties to the area of the residing. He raved, howled, shook incorporeal fists, shed invisible tears. None of it helped. I think that even after the fellow was once apprehended, Lloyd A. Brown’s ghost persevered to wander disconsolately, muttering curses heard via no one—a spirit now not at leisure.

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