‘The Feather Thief’ author presents story of crime, fly fishing at Bud Werner Memorial Library | SteamboatToday.com

‘The Feather Thief’ author presents story of crime, fly fishing at Bud Werner Memorial Library

Staff report
Steamboat Pilot & Today

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Bud Werner Memorial Library presents an evening with author Kirk Wallace Johnson, author of the bestselling true-crime thriller, “The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century,” during a free Library Author Series talk at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 26, in Library Hall.

“The Feather Thief” is a rollicking adventure and a captivating journey into an underground world of fanatical fly-tiers and plume peddlers. On a cool June evening in 2009, after performing a concert at London’s Royal Academy of Music, 20-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History.

Home to one of the largest ornithological collections in the world, the Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins — some collected 150 years earlier by a contemporary of Darwin’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, who’d risked everything to gather them — and escaped into the darkness.

Two years later, Johnson was waist high in a river in northern New Mexico when his fly-fishing guide told him about the heist. He was soon consumed by the strange case of the feather thief. In his search for answers, Johnson was catapulted into a years-long, worldwide investigation.

The gripping story of a bizarre and shocking crime, and one man’s relentless pursuit of justice, “The Feather Thief” is also a fascinating exploration of obsession and man’s destructive instinct to harvest the beauty of nature.

This community talk is free. Books will be available for purchase and signing courtesy of Off the Beaten Path Bookstore. Visit http://www.steamboatlibrary.org/events for more information. 

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