"The Feather Thief" (A #WhatsOnMyNightstand Book Review)

I don't remember who recommended this book to me, but I feel like it was a childhood friend on Facebook, after I mentioned a book I had recently finished reading. Since I'm always up for "stranger than fiction" real-life tales, I added it to my "To Read" list on Goodreads and eventually ordered a copy (used of course) from Amazon, to add to my nightstand reading stack. It's probably been at least 2-3 years since that recommendation, but I finally got around to reading it this year, and since life happened and I didn't get my July post written, I'm hoping that an August 1st book review post will make up for the oversight. 

May I introduce to you, The Feather Thief, by Kirk Wallace Johnson. A story of the most unusual theft, by the most unlikely of characters, with a somewhat unsatisfactory outcome. But still one of my favorite books of 2022 so far. 

When Johnson first heard the story of Edwin Rist, he almost couldn't believe it to be true. It was too far out there. A twenty-something American flautist, studying at the Royal Academy of Music in London, obsessed with the rare art of salmon fly-tying and the even rarer (and more illegal) feathers to tie them, breaks into the Tring museum, a branch of the British Museum of Natural History, in the dead of night and waltzes out with a suitcase full of hundreds of bird skins. Using the local train system as his "getaway" vehicle, he made a clean escape, only to be found through his sales on eBay and a loose-lipped buyer. 

Think Oceans 11, The Italian Job, and Jason Bourne, only with a homeschooled American boy who wanted money to buy a nice flute so he could play classical music with a German orchestra. Truth truly is stranger than fiction. Without giving anything away, let me just say that although the long arm of the law did, eventually, catch up to him, justice was not served. In a plot twist that would fit well in Catch Me If You Can, Rist and his feathers are still free in the world, much to the chagrin of Johnson, who slowly became obsessed with this unusual heist, and the man who got away with it.

Available on Amazon, you can buy it new or used, or look it up at your local library. The world truly is a funny place. Happy Reading!


  1. That sounds crazy! and an interesting read! -Maya

  2. Sounds like my kind of book! I'm checking our library now, then thrift books! Thank you for the enticing review

  3. Adding this to my "to be read" pile! Sounds interesting.

    1. Great! I hope you enjoy it whenever you get the opportunity to read it!


A reminder: there are more than 400,000 words in the English language, please use them wisely.


Related Posts with Thumbnails