CHANCERS: Scandal, Blackmail, and the Enigma Code

Book number: 94686 Product format: Hardback Author: BARBARA JEFFERY

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Bibliophile price £6.00
Published price £20

Following the horrors of the Great War, people wanted to forget its horrors and have fun in any way they could. A young man from a far-off feudal world found entertainment in royal palaces, on battleships and in brothels. During his few months in London, high society and affairs of state were to collide with a city's underworld and a ring of globe-trotting conmen. The scandal that followed rocked the world and its aftermath remains to this day. The young man was Rajah Sir Hari Singh, heir to the Maharajah of Kashmir. His downfall was to meet an adventuress called Maud, and her associates, the Mayfair Mob. When the Rajah came to London in 1919, his first time in Europe, between visits to the King and Queen and the Prince of Wales, he was introduced by his aide de Camp to Mrs Maud, Maudie Robinson. They became lovers and spent Christmas in Paris where they were 'discovered' in bed together. The Rajah parted with cheques to the equivalent today of £14 million in hush money to stop Maudie's husband citing him in a divorce action. The plot was planned by his trusted friend and aide Charles Arthur, an Irish nobleman, along with Monty Newton, a notorious card sharp, and William Cooper Hobbs, a crooked solicitor's clerk and the Mr Big of the London underworld. But were Maudie and her husband also in on the plot? And if so, how were they cheated out of all but £21,000 of the blackmail pay-out? When they found out, the ensuing court case gave Sir Hari a nickname that haunted him forever: 'Mr A'. The British Government imposed the greatest secrecy on the case, keeping files closed for 70 and 100 years rather than the usual 30. Records only recently released by the National Archives throw new light on the court case that gripped the world for eight days in 1924 and which was to have repercussions that last to this day in the fraught relations between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Monty was saved by the intervention of his partner in crime Lemoine, a German working for French Intelligence who, in 1931, bought the working manuals of the new German Enigma encoding machine from a clerk so that, in 1932, a young Polish mathematician could crack the code. This is five years before Alan Turing even thought of studying cryptology. The book follows Newton and Lemoine around the world from Monte Carlo to Mexico, always staying in the best hotels, as they con the rich and gullible out of their millions. 288pp, photos.

Additional product information

ISBN 9781445689784

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