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Biography

Robin Quinn PhotoRobin Quinn is an author and radio producer based in South-East England. His new book, The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo explores the life of Charles Deville Wells, fraudster and gambler, and spans the second half of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. Published 2016 by The History Press Ltd.

THE MAN WHO BROKE THE BANK AT MONTE CARLO

The incredible true story of Charles Deville Wells, gambler and fraudster extraordinaire.

Charles Wells has two loves in his life: a beautiful, headstrong, French mistress, Jeannette, and his sumptuous yacht, the Palais Royal. At the risk of losing them both, Wells stakes everything he owns at the roulette tables in Monte Carlo’s world-famous Casino – and in the space of a few days he breaks the bank, not once but ten times, winning the equivalent of millions in today’s money.

Is he phenomenally lucky? Has he really invented an “infallible” gambling system, as he claims? Or is he just an exceptionally clever fraudster?

Based on painstaking research on both sides of the Channel and beyond, this biography reveals the incredible true story of the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo – an individual who went on to become Europe’s most wanted criminal, hunted by British and French police, and known in the press as “Monte Carlo Wells – the man with 36 aliases”.

Pre-order now: Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmiths, iTunes.
Read excerpts on Google Books.

HITLER'S LAST ARMY

After the Second World War 400,000 German servicemen were imprisoned on British soil – some remaining until 1948. These defeated men in their tattered uniforms were, in every sense, Hitler's Last Army.

Reviews of Hitler's Last Army

“Probably the best book on the subject in the last 20 years”
[recollectionsofwwii.blogspot.co.uk]

“I recommend this book as a must to read.”
[★★★★★ Amazon review by “a German ex-POW”]

“Well written, interesting, informative, and heart-warming in equal measure … I would recommend this even to those not especially interested in WW2, as a fascinating slice of Anglo-German social history of 70 years ago. Buy it."
[★★★★★ Amazon review by J.B.]

Blog: All Posts

  • Radio Interview on 105 Uckfield FM

    I’ve been invited to appear today on local radio station, Uckfield FM, as a guest of drivetime presenter Lynn Briggs, to talk about The Man who Broke the bank at Monte Carlo.  The show is on the air between 4.00 p.m. and 7.00 p.m.

    Uckfield FM serves the town of Uckfield, East Sussex, and surrounding district, on 105 FM and online here.

  • On this day 125 years ago: 2 August 1891

    Today Charles Deville Wells’ first visit to Monte Carlo was almost over.  Having observed his astonishing achievements for several days, the local correspondent for Reuter’s News Agency telegraphed this report to Britain, where it would appear in the next day’s editions of many of the newspapers:

    the casino at monte carlo where charles deville wells broke the bank at roulette and trente et quarante
    The Casino at Monte Carlo. A view on the southern aspect.

    Mr. Wells, the Englishman who had so extraordinary a run of luck last week at the gaming tables here, winning over £20,000 at roulette [equivalent to £2 million], continues to be favoured by the same good fortune.  Finding the luck turning against him, he had the prudence to quit the table at which he had been assiduously playing day after day from the opening of the Casino till its close.  Before leaving the building, however, he risked a few stakes at another game, trente-et-quarante [a casino game played with cards], and, winning each, continued to play till he had further increased his gains by the sum of 160,000 f, or close upon £6,400 [£640,000 today].  Mr. Wells at trente-et-quarante follows the same system that proved so successful at roulette – the famous ‘coup des trois’ – that is to say, following the luck till he has won thrice in succession, and then withdrawing the accumulated stake.  People here and at Nice are talking of nothing but his marvellous success.

     

  • Book now available

    ‘The Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo – Charles Deville Wells, gambler and fraudster extraordinaire’ is now available from the following online booksellers:

    WH Smith £12.99 (hardback) £7.19 (e-Book)

    Waterstones £18.99 (hardback)

    Amazon £15.90 (hardback) £6.64 (e-Book)

    … or ask at your local bookshop!  (Information believed correct at the time of writing).

  • On this day 125 years ago: 1 August 1891
    Casino exterior
    The Casino at Monte Carlo. One night in 1891 Charles Wells crossed the square (foreground) to his hotel, staggering under the weight of a million francs in banknotes and slept with them under his pillow.

    On this day in 1891, early reports of Charles Wells and his success at the Monte Carlo Casino were trickling in.  This brief bulletin in The Times was typical:

    GAMBLING AT MONTE CARLO

    Charles Deville Wells man broke bank monte carlo gambler fraudster extraordinaire robin quinn author victorian edwardian true crime
    Charles Deville Wells, the Man who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo, pictured some years after his gambling coup at the casino.

    An Englishman named Wells, who is staying here, has just had a run of luck so extraordinary as to be the chief topic of the hour, not only with those who frequent the Casino, but among the residents of Monte Carlo generally.  For the last three days this gentleman has played roulette incessantly, and during that time has won no less than £20,000 [equivalent to at least £2 million today] …

    So engrossed was this fortunate gambler that never once did he stir from his seat or partake of food during the 11 hours of play.  He won several stakes of 26,000 f, and twice consecutively backed the number one ‘en plein’ successfully for 8,000 f, the maximum amount allowed.  He also frequently backed with similar good fortune the even chances – red, odd and even, ‘marque,’ and ‘passe’ – and more than once won all these stakes at the same time.  It is stated that he has sent on all his winnings to England, so as to place himself beyond the temptation of losing them by further operations at the gaming tables.

  • On this day 125 years ago: 31 July 1891

    a gaming hall in the Monte Carlo Casino

    A very short news-agency telegram from Monaco reached some evening newspapers in Britain before they went to press on this day 125 years ago.

    LUCK AT MONTE CARLO

    [REUTERS TELEGRAM]

    Monte Carlo, Friday.

    An English visitor, after playing continuously at the roulette tables here during the last four days, has just won a sum of £20,000.  [Equivalent to £2 million in today’s money].

    Occupying only three or four lines, and without mentioning the ‘lucky Englishman’ by name, the bulletin probably went unnoticed by the majority of readers.  But very soon Charles Wells and his gambling success would be one of the main topics of conversation up and down Britain.

    To be continued …