City of Scoundrels

City of Scoundrels

Book - 2019
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"Elizabeth Miles finds herself in a position no con can help her escape. Her beloved fiancé, Gideon Bates, is awaiting his turn in the draft to fight in the Great War. Elizabeth is finding it hard to think of anything else, but Gideon has thrown himself into his work, preparing wills for soldiers before they ship out. Corporal Tom Preston is part owner of Preston Shoes, a company that is making footwear for the army, so he has a rather large estate. He needs a new will, however, because he has just been secretly married to a woman whom his family would never approve. He wants to make sure she and their unborn child are provided for if he does not return. When Tom is later reported killed, Elizabeth and Gideon learn that the new will has gone missing after Tom's bride revealed her identity to his family. Unless the new will is found and validated, the original will, which leaves everything to Tom's brother, will prevail and the wife and child will get nothing. If Tom's new bride survives, that is. Some terrible threats have been leveled against her, and Elizabeth and Gideon must figure out a way, legal or not quite, to secure Tom's fortune for his wife and child while saving her life in the process"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Berkley Prime Crime, 2019
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781984805652
Characteristics: 327 pages ; 22 cm
Call Number: THOMPSON, V


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Jan 13, 2020

Elizabeth's fiance, Gideon Bates, is about ready to report to training before fighting in World War I. A lawyer, he assists Tom Preston, part-owner of a shoe factory, to make a new will (a previous will listed his brother, Fred, as his beneficiary) to benefit his new wife, Rose, if he should die in the fighting. He takes the signed copy, sets out for the front and dies. Rose, although set up in an upscale apartment, is bereft. And pregnant.

Fred is contacted by Rose, as next of kin, regarding Tommy's death. He accosts Gideon in his office, furious about the will. He is also angry about Rose and shocked about her pregnancy. Then Rose is attacked by an intruder, who takes the will and the marriage certificate. Gideon goes the normal route to talk with Fred about an allowance for Rose. It doesn't go well.

A former grifter, Elizabeth contacts her father and brother. An elaborate con is created. Greedy Fred is a perfect mark. But they also find out about a spy for Germany in the family. So they fold that information into the con. Reading about the con unfolding is like watching "The Sting."

The impact of the flu epidemic is very real for these characters. And Elizabeth is relieved that Gideon gets a month's reprieve because of its effect on New York City. Watch for the scene on the streetcar.


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