Get-Rich-Quick Wallingford (George Randolph Chester, 1907)

A man wins and loses fortunes by exploiting technically legal financial maneuvers to relieve the trusting of their hard earned money. From the subtitle, “A Cheerful Account of the Rise and Fall of an American Business Buccaneer”, and from the funny picture on the cover, I was expecting a light, comic satire. No. It is neither light nor comic. His “rise” continues for nearly the entire book, leaving a wake of devastation and suffering behind him, and dragging his long-suffering wife along for the ride. On top of that, Mr. Colonel Judge Wallingford’s comeuppance never really comes. He’s only taken down at last by a fellow scammer, and it feels that, for a man like Wallingford, it will only be a temporary setback .