This article is from the archive of our partner .

Mopey novelist Jonathan Franzen was attending a book party in foggy London town yesterday when two Brits (we can only assume!) snatched the author's glasses right off his face. One fled, while the other (no doubt a fellow chimney sweep, or possibly a boot-black) handed Franzen a note that read, according to The Book Seller, "$100,000 – Your glasses are yours again!”

Not taking any chances, a police helicopter (yes, a police helicopter) was dispatched to find the suspects, one of whom was found hiding in--wait for it--Kensington Gardens. The glasses were promptly returned to the visiting American, who declined to press charges.

He did, however, reserve the right to spend ten years brooding over the incident.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.