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Publisher's Summary

In the ebullient spirit of Ocean’s 8, The Heist, and Thelma & Louise, a sensational and entertaining memoir of the world’s most notorious jewel thief - a woman who defied society’s prejudices and norms to carve her own path, stealing from elite jewelers to live her dreams.

Growing up during the Depression in the segregated coal town of Slab Fork, West Virginia, Doris Payne was told her dreams were unattainable for poor black girls like her. Surrounded by people who sought to limit her potential, Doris vowed to turn the tables after the owner of a jewelry store threw her out when a white customer arrived. Neither racism nor poverty would hold her back; she would get what she wanted and help her mother escape an abusive relationship.

Using her southern charm, quick wit, and fascination with magic as her tools, Payne began shoplifting small pieces of jewelry from local stores. Over the course of six decades, her talents grew with each heist. Becoming an expert world-class jewel thief, she daringly pulled off numerous diamond robberies and her Jewish boyfriend fenced the stolen gems to Hollywood celebrities.

Doris’ criminal exploits went unsolved well into the 1970s - partly because the stores did not want to admit that they were duped by a black woman. Eventually realizing Doris was using him, her boyfriend turned her in. She was arrested after stealing a diamond ring in Monte Carlo that was valued at more than half a million dollars. But even prison couldn’t contain this larger-than-life personality, who cleverly used nuns as well as various ruses to help her break out. With her arrest in 2013 in San Diego, Doris’ fame skyrocketed when media coverage of her astonishing escapades exploded.

Today, at 87, Doris, as bold and vibrant as ever, lives in Atlanta, and is celebrated for her glamorous legacy. She sums up her adventurous career best: “It beat being a teacher or a maid.” A rip-roaringly fun and exciting story as captivating and audacious as Catch Me if You Can and Can You Ever Forgive Me? - Diamond Doris is the portrait of a captivating anti-hero who refused to be defined by the prejudices and mores of a hypocritical society.

©2019 Doris Payne (P)2019 HarperAudio

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What listeners say about Diamond Doris

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A great story of adventure and human spirit.

While no one can say that what she did was right, I admire that she never let race stand in her way. She didn't accept the ceiling above her and rose to the height of her "career".

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Gifted Grifter and Storyteller

Very interesting story - fabulous storytelling. Don't judge too harshly. A child can not escape from a coal mining town in West Virginia without falling into some kind of magical abilities. Shapeshifting, charming and hypnotism skills, vanishing into thin air, flowing anywhere like water, Houdini-like escape skills, superb acting skills, political savvy tricks, creating reality and ruthlessness. Full regard for self and no regard for others. The hills of West Virginia were not big enough to swallow her up. That in itself is a worthy story.

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Interesting

it was an interesting story, especially because its supposed to be a true story. I was surprised by the. fact that she was a black woman getting away with. this; and, in that time period. I don't care what kind of outfit she was wearing.

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5 Star Book; 2 Star Life

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to stories about Doris' exploits. The audiobook was entertaining and I listened to it in one day. The only problem is that I was so intrigued, I researched her a bit more after the book. It became obvious that her story has been glamorized to the extent that I question it's true value . I won't give away some of the truths about her life that I learned because I was able to enjoy this entertaining rendering of her story. However, there are other stories and cautionary tales that could be just as enjoyable about Doris Payne's life.

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I loved it!

I loved how she recounted all of her heists and how classy she was! Doris Payne you were a ‘Smooth Criminal’!!!

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Wow! Just Wow

Loved this book so much. She was definitely raw and real about her story Thank you to the narrator for making it an easy listen

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Diamonds in a Girls life

Sparked a great discussion for my book club's November selection. Although stealing is wrong. Somehow Doris found a way to survive. We all have a story regardless if it is a fairy tale or struggle. I admired her bravery but wished she spent more time finding a more suitable means. For example. Investing in becoming a high end sales person or store owner. Overall, I would recommend reading the book. I will have to see the movie.

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Bad to the bone

Diamond Doris was an extremely enjoyable book. Her attention to her attire and looks, ability to hop on a plane to go to another country with just the benefit of jewelry research was just bad azz. She was so confident and was empowered although she was breaking multiple international laws. She was a very interesting women but her parenting skills left much to the imagination. Fortunately she has her mother and the children’s father. She was a wild woman.

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The Notorious Diamond Doris

I absolutely loved this story. Doris led an exciting, dangerous, wild life. Talk about doing what you want, when you want it! The voice of Robin Miles was also great. She managed to speak the parts of all of the characters convincingly. Few can effectively do that.

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Great Listen

I heard about Doris Payne a few years ago so it was nice to read. Great narration and interesting story. definitely worth the credit!!