NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Central Standard


Creative Commons

The con-man may be someone  you want to avoid in real life, but he is a beloved figure in literature. Why do readers and writers love the con artist so? And why is he always a "he"? Lots of reading recommendations, plus the story of a local writer who's not only written about the con-man; he's also been one.


The Bibliofiles recommend:

  • Players: Conmen, Hustlers, Gamblers and Scam Artists, edited by Geno Hyde and Stephen Zanetti (Luce)
  • The Big Con, by David Mauer (Luce)
  • Yellow Kid Weil, by J.R. "Yellow Kid" Weil and W.T. Brannon (Luce)
  • You Can't Win, by Jack Black (Luce)
  • The Exploits of Arsene Lupin, by Maurice LeBlanc (Luce)
  • Raffles the Amateur Craftsman, by E.W. Hornung (Luce)
  • Queenpin, by Megan Abbot (Luce)
  • The Grifters, by Jim Thompson
  • Jay's Journal of Anomalies, by Ricky Jay (Luce)
  • Gamesmanship and One-Upsmanship, Stephen Potter (Luce)
  • The Secret History of Wonder Woman, by Jill Lepore (Goudie)
  • Purity, by Jonathan Franzen (Goudie)
  • Boy, Snow, Bird, by Helen Oyeyemi (Goudie)
  • Catch Me If You Can, by Frank Abagnale (Stover)
  • Bringing Down the House, by Ben Mezrich (Stover)
  • Guys and Dolls, by Damon Runyon (Stover)
  • The Art Forger, by B.A. Shapiro (Stover)
  • Paper Moon: A Novel, by Peter Bogdanovich (listener recommendation)
  • The Great Brain, by John D. Fitzgerald (listener recommendation)
  • The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas (listener recommendation)
Gina Kaufmann is the host of KCUR’s Central Standard, a talkshow fueled by curiosity and critical thinking. You can reach her on Twitter, @GinaKCUR.
Matthew Long-Middleton has been a talk-show producer, community producer and now is the Media Training Manager with America Amplified. You can reach him at, or on Twitter.