PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 November, 2009, 12:00am

by Erin Arvedlund
Penguin, HK$142

In 2001 Erin Arvedlund wrote an article for Barron's about Bernard Madoff in which she quoted the fraudster saying about his operations: 'I can't go into it in great detail.' Like others, she found it odd that Madoff supposedly ran a US$6 billion hedge fund but his performance figures were never in databases or elsewhere. Despite suspicions about his operations, Madoff continued stealing from clients until this year, when his sons turned him in for securities fraud. The rest of the story about the largest financial scam in history has since been splashed on front pages worldwide, although there remain many questions, including who helped him perpetuate the fraud? Although Arvedlund's book doesn't provide many answers, it is a clear, tempered account of his rise and fall, which culminated with his court statement: 'When I began my Ponzi scheme, I believed it would end shortly ...' He would not have to provide details of his crime or implicate anyone else, a fact Arvedlund underscores while pointing out his firm was unusual for employing so many family members. Madoff whets the appetite, but readers may prefer to wait for a meatier offering.