Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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David Douglas Duncan


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Follow link for an enlarged imageYo-Yo: Kidnapped in Provence (1999) / view images from this book

From the book jacket text:
Yo-Yo, a Norwich terrier, was kidnapped then ransomed from a Gypsy chief of French car thieves by a former Marine war photographer, in a surrealistic face-to-face supermarket parking lot payoff near Marseille. More than a dozen gangster flankmen infiltrated the money-for-puppy arena during the bizarre confrontation. By request, all the French gendarmes of Provence had stepped aside, permitting the American combat veteran to deal with Yo-Yo's abductors, alone.

He became famous almost overnight — when only 5 pounds, 4-months old.

A poster-and-media blitz launched on the French Riviera and in Paris itself (prayers also in Notre Dame cathedral) had targeted every major news channel that might help find and rescue him. A no-questions $2000 reward beckoned from Roman ruins and myriad ancient village walls of Provence, saturating that historic-but-secretive region near where he was stolen. The most popular family-pet program on French television screened his image and theft saga-drama across most of Europe and to England.

Yo-Yo was returned unharmed wearing a Hermes collar and on a silver leash, half-a-pound heavier and proud of his impeccable newly acquired household behavior. How he had spent those same endless nineteen days of mistress anguish — obviously more than comfortable among gangsters — will always mystify this book's now most-cautious photographer/author, whom he bit, when they first met.