29 JUNE 1956, Page 22

It's a Crime

GENTLEMEN AT CRIME. By Donald Mackenzie. (Elek, 16s.) Fact, if not stranger than crime fiction, is, at any rate, and for once, faster and funnier. Donald Mackenzie, who was a confidence trickster—one of the aristocrats of crime—plying his trade in Paris, reveals some of its secrets, along with such fruits of experi- ence as that the English landed gentry are 'totally unsuitable for the con. trick. Lacking imagination, that type of person is blind to the larcenous hook.' Descending to burglary, and in London, the author is sharply critical of the Metropolitan Police; it would be interesting to have the official answer to the version here of the Stepka Case. The author's photograph is itself an interesting foot- note to the stories of the hard-headed American businessmen who handed him their wad to walk around the block with; and Doc, who taught him the game, is a character in the round, .cousin perhaps to the Mr. Norris who changed trains.