Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Strange Tale, Now Told

Many of this blog's readers were probably familiar with the Frognall Dibdin's Shelves book blog, which purported to be the musings of a well-heeled Beacon Hill bibliophile about his reading life, his lavish lifestyle and his extensive family's deep-seated Brahmin traditions. Many of you might not have noticed that the blog simply (and totally) disappeared a few months ago (although yesterday morning it abruptly returned in a rather odd way and form).

The blog always seemed a little bit odd to me (though if I'd been asked at the time I probably wouldn't have been able to put my finger on just why it did), and eventually I came to learn that my inclinations were not entirely without foundation. Now, at last, the story has hit the newswires: Alex Beam broke the story publicly with a 7 January story in the Boston Globe, headlined "Another Phony Rockefeller," and he posted a followup piece on 21 January, "Living a Double Lie." Over at the Downeast Dilettante blog there's a long piece by Brad Emerson, a direct participant in the story, and I expect and hope we'll be seeing some more of these as events continue to unfold. For now, read this lot and you'll understand the level of deception this guy was involved with, and how it finally caught up with him.

In short, the blog's several writers were all the same person, who'd created a faux lifestyle for himself and used his blog (and the accompanying web of Facebook accounts, which I didn't see but was apparently were quite something) to wheedle his way into bibliophilic and antiquing circles in Maine and Boston. When his story began to unravel and an indictment was handed down, he went to ground, and his whereabouts are currently unknown.

It's a sad, crazy story, and there's much more still to come. Stay tuned.

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