The publishers believe that a picture of life sketched by a master hand - somebody who stands in the world of crime as Edison does in his field or as Morgan and Rockefeller do in theirs - could not fail to be impressive and valuable and prove the oft repeated statement that crime does not pay.
Such a person is Sophie Lyons, the most remarkable and the greatest criminal of modern times. This extraordinary woman is herself a striking evidence that crime does not pay and that the same energy and brains exerted in honest endeavor win enduring wealth and respectability. She has abandoned her earlier career and has lately accumulated a fortune of half a million dollars, honestly acquired by her own unaided business ability.
Sophie Lyons was a "thief from the cradle," as one Chief of Police said; at the early age of six years she had already been trained by her stepmother to be a pickpocket and a shoplifter. A beautiful child with engaging manners, she was sent out every day into the stores and among the crowds of shoppers, and was soundly whipped if she came out of a shop with less than three pocketbooks. "I did not know it was wrong to steal; nobody every taught me that," Sophie Lyons writes.