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If Jefferson "Parleyvoo" Pickens had appeared in print just a few years later, he might have been the "Gentle Grifter" instead of the "Gentle Grafter", the name O. Henry picked for him. His situation as an ethical graft artist gives Jeff an extra impediment in pursuing his craft, but he never wanted it to be too easy. The result is fourteen delightful tales for us and a number of new partners for him. With those partners (he always has at least one) he works his way through a number of confidence games. Some they win, some they lose, some go into extra innings. They seem never to end just the way you figure they will. In the end he conquers almost all, except for the English language, which often seems to defeat him. (Intro by Leslie Walden)
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