DON’T CALL ME A Crook!
A SCOTSMAN’S TALE OF WORLD TRAVEL,
Whisky, and Crime
by BOB MOORE
Afterword by Booker Prize-winning novelist James Kelman
Introduction and annotations by Dissident Books publisher and editor Nicholas Towasser
1 oz. Trainspotting.
2 oz. Charles Bukowski.
1 oz. Candide.
Add three shots of noir.
Add enough Scotch whisky to kill a horse.
Serve and enjoy.
“It is a pity there are getting to be so many places that I can never go back to, but all the same, I do not think it is much fun a man being respectable all his life.” Thus begins Don't Call Me a Crook! A Scotsman's Tale of World Travel, Whisky, and Crime, the greatest book you've never read.
Don't Call Me a Crook! A Scotsman's Tale of World Travel, Whisky, and Crime is a lost memoir that will be crowned a classic. It's a tribute to one man's triumph over the law, morals, and sobriety.
Bob Moore, a Glaswegian, was a marine engineer, building superintendent, and moonshine runner. He traveled throughout the U.S., Australia, Egypt, South America, Japan, and China. He also conned women, fought with pirates on the Yangtze, and set a coffee shop ablaze. Clearly, this Scot loved life.
Moore might have appropriated things that belonged to others, but he was not—repeat, not—a crook. "I am not a crook at all, because a crook is a man who steals things from people, but I have only swiped things when I needed them or when it would be wasteful to let slip an opportunity." You got that?
The 1920s didn't roar for Moore. They exploded. And whether he was snatching jewelry or in the thick of a New York high society orgy, he embraced the age with a bear hug. And nothing—not Prohibition, marriage, or the police—was going to stop him from having a good time.
Don't Call Me a Crook! is picaresque, perverse, and darkly funny. With its unforgettable characters and strange plot twists, it reads more like a novel than a memoir. Originally published in 1935, Don't Call Me a Crook! is a mysterious and overlooked treasure. No critics reviewed it. To date, only five holders of original edition have been identified. Only a handful of people seem to have ever known of the book.
That's going to change. Dissident Books has released a new edition of Don't Call Me, including an insightful afterword by Booker Prize-winning novelist James Kelman, and an introduction and footnotes by Dissident Books editor Nicholas Towasser.
It's time you met Bob Moore. It's time you found a new hero. It's time you read Don't Call Me a Crook!
Both Dissident Books releases for $19.70!
Take a scandalous, misanthropic, and inebriated trip back to the Jazz Age with Notes on Democracy and Don’t Call Me a Crook!
About the Authors
Bob Moore was a marine engineer, building superintendent, speakeasy bartender, kept man, and very, very briefly, a short-order cook. In the course of his voyages he lied, cheated, tricked, stole, brawled, fornicated, binge drank, and killed. A woman in Essex, England reports she's Moore's granddaughter. According to her, the rogue memoirist died in 1937 of acute alcohol gastritis, and was buried in a London potter's field.
James Kelman is author of the Booker Prize-winning novel How Late It Was, How Late.
Nicholas Towasser is the publisher and editor of Dissident Books.
Don’t Call Me a Crook!
A Scotsman’s Tale of World Travel, Whisky, and Crime
Don’t Call Me a Crook! “is the work of a proper writer. It is to be regretted that it was his one and only literary production… If I had come upon this book as a young writer it would have had an affect on me. I have no doubt about that.”
—James Kelman, from his afterword to Don’t Call Me a Crook!
“It’s hard to imagine anybody who could read the first paragraph, much less the first page, of Don’t Call Me a Crook and not want to read right on to the end. Bob Moore knows how to get your attention …”
—Bill Crider, author of the “Sheriff Dan Rhodes” series
“Imagine Celine if he’d had a working-class upbringing in Glasgow and no interest in literary posturing. … Perhaps Bukowski makes for a better comparison, except Moore is better than Bukowski.”
—Stewart Home, author of Slow Death and Red London
“Moore’s book is one of relatively few accounts looking at the Roaring Twenties from the point of view of a Scot who was, if hardly at the bottom of the social order, at least not born with a silver spoon in his gob.”
—The Scotsman (Edinburgh)
“[I] found myself ensorcelled… in Moore’s crazy tales of traveling the world by ship, over and over, during the 1920s, where he encountered gunfights, judges with unfortunate tendencies to sleep with underage girls, illicit booze at the height of Prohibition, gangsters, other people’s money, and the lessening of morals that were never really there to begin with.”
—Sarah Weinman, (“Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind” blog)
“This is the kind of nonfiction which just has to be read to be believed. Not only does it feel like some old pulp story, but seems like a predecessor to Jim Thompson’s The Grifters. It is filled with such great exploits, you’ll be dumbfounded by how he got away with some of his stunts.”
“Breaker of almost every law imaginable, he’s also a thoroughly charming rapscallion … [T]hank you, Dissident Books, for this delicious slice of swashbuckling adventure with a great dollop of fun.”
—Donna Moore, author of Old Dogs and Go to Helena Handbasket and blogger
“Don’t Call Me a Crook! may be old as hell and swear-free, but noir it sure-as-fuck is. Moore is a charming “you want to be him” rogue at best and a completely immoral bastard at worst (seriously, you won’t believe some of the shit this guy cops to in this memoir).”
—Nerd of Noir
“It’s hard to admire him, but it’s impossible to dislike him. … Don’t Call Me a Crook is a fun and interesting look at what life was like for the working class of the 1920s—unapologetic, realistic and true, it sheds light on what must have been a fascinating time to be alive.”
“The stories Moore has to tell are often fascinating. … A very strange book, but worth reading.”
—Midwest Book Review (Debra’s Bookshelf)
“The editors at Dissident Books did an excellent job in bringing this little-known classic back to life. … The result is an enjoyable read of a very much over-the-top individual who lived and played as hard as he could.”
—Thomas Duff ("Duffbert’s Random Musings” blog)
“Written by Bob Moore, an unbelievably gifted storyteller, he recounts the many adventures he had traveling the world. … If you can dream it up, Bob Moore probably did it. I have read Don’t Call Me A Crook! three times and loved it each time. It is so fascinating and wonderfully written.”
—“Ramblings of a Texas Housewife” blog
—“Strategist’s Personal Library blog”
“[A] dark memoir…. [Written by a] self-proclaimed thief, liar, and gunrunner (one must add racist, drunk, and murderer to the list!), Don’t Call Me a Crook! is a 245 page slog through the murky waters of violence, corruption, and all else in bad taste…. The author is a despicable character…. Bob Moore is a crook!”
—Muse Book Reviews
ON BEING (NOT) A CROOK:
It is a pity that it is so easy for a man to make himself famous, because now if I go to a place I often find that they know all about me, and though it is gratifying to feel that you have made a mark in the world… people misunderstand me because they have read things that make them think maybe I am a crook. And how is a man to have friends if everywhere he goes people are expecting him to be a crook? Though, really, I am not a crook at all, because a crook is a man who steals things from people, but I have only swiped things when I needed them or when it would be wasteful to let slip an opportunity.