From Clifford Irving and his Howard Hughes hoax to the great imposter Frank "Catch Me if You Can" Abagnale—a fascinating history of the art of the con. They're shrewd, cunning, devious—and charmingly trustworthy. While the criminal exploits of these tricksters, frauds, and swindlers can't be condoned, it's near-impossible not to be awed by their audacity and ingenuity. Take Victor Lustig, the "Bouncing Czech" who sold the Eiffel Tower—twice; John Stonehouse, a philandering politician who faked his own death to escape his sins; the impotence cure of the bizarre Dr. John Brinkley who transplanted goat testicles on gullible men; embarrassingly successful Goldman Sachs embezzler Joyti De-Laurey; or Robert Hendy-Freegard, a car salesman and serial seducer who convinced scores of women he was an MI5 agent. Here, too, are the exploits of a "friend of the stars" who infiltrated a royal castle; a fake Scots "laird" who operated from the heart of Scotland Yard; evangelists who fell from grace; and other pilferers, parasites, artful dodgers, charming bastards, femme fatales, big fat liars, and grand masters of dishonorable mention.