Title: Don’t Call Me a Crook!
Author: Bob Moore
Genre/Pages: Memoir; 255 pages
Publication: Originally published 1935; republished by Dissident Books, Ltd. 2009
Rating: 2.5 BOOKMARKS
Originally published over 70 years ago, Bob Moore’s memoir, Don’t Call Me a Crook! is part sensation, part confession.
Bob Moore lived a wild and wicked life–he was a cad and a scoundrel and who tried to rationalize his criminal hi-jinx.
“…I thought of the guy waiting in the Shellman Hotel for me, and I thought how he had meant to fool me nicely by making me take all the risk, and then paying me off with a paltry hundred dollars while he made thousands of pounds (on loose, stolen diamonds). I reckon he deserved to lose those diamonds…” (Moore, 28)
He explained that when opportunity presented itself, he didn’t have to think twice about stealing. I imagined him as a moustache-twirling villain who managed to charm most everyone–and was I ever right!
I’m no Puritan over here, but even I was a tad scandalized by the blase manner in which Moore glibly told of swindling, bootlegging, and murder. He amazed me by dodging one proverbial bullet after another. He traveled the globe, often at a moment’s notice–especially when fleeing from the scene of a crime, something he did with alarming frequency.
The direction of Bob Moore’s life was led by the Grand Theft Auto moral compass–theft, adultery, and cheating were his cardinal directions. Despite his shortcomings and criminal lifestyle (or maybe because of them), the book is an entertaining read. As he goes from one improbable adventure to the next, the reader is left questioning how one person could live so many lifetimes in one life.
This book was not widely received after its original publishing in 1935 and was recently re-released with an introduction, afterword, and footnotes–some superfluous and distracting. There were many nautical references footnoted (crow’s nest, galley, stateroom, purser, list) and though I’ve never captained a ship, I’ve watched enough episodes of The Love Boat to understand the lingo. Other footnotes, however, were necessary and helpful.
Perhaps because this book was penned so long ago (or because Moore just didn’t give a damn), prejudice is evident in a few of his interactions. I understand that they aren’t themes of the novel, but intolerance turns me off.
Overall, Don’t Call Me a Crook! is an entertaining, albeit scandalous, read. Moore can really tell a story–and he has the details to support his tales. People who enjoy this genre and are interested in reading about the life and times of this Glaswegian shouldn’t hesitate to pick up this book!
Thanks to Lisa from Online Publicist for sending me this memoir!