Sunday, 3 April 2016

Plot Summary

For ages I've been writing a book. It is a "caper" tale, set in Vienna and then Venice in the 1880s. It will probably never be finished and even then almost certainly never be published.

But everybody loves a caper, a scam. Assuming the victim (the "mark") has more money than sense, so that you never need feel sorry for them. And then enjoy the tale of their downfall on the way.

Such scams have a certain format. First we have the victim, the "mark" , a man/woman/corporate entity is presented with the opportunity to make silly amounts of money and are ultimately brought down by their own greed.  Then we have the perpetrator, the "principal" who sees and seizes that opportunity.

And then...?

"Marks" are not all stupid. Particularly if they are not individuals but corporate entities. So, in many of these scams there needs to be a third player, a "verifier". A person, or institution, of apparently impeccable integrity and resources who can sign off on the bona fides of the "principal".

 A person. or institution, who, thus vouching for the "principal", engages with the "mark". Giving the "mark" the impression that the "verifier"  themselves are doing business with the "principal". Indeed, suggesting to the "mark" that if he/she/it does do business with the "principal", then in time they, the "mark", might even do (much more) substantial business directly with the "verifier" themselves.

Even then however the "mark", particularly if they are not entirely stupid,  might be suspicious. So they might ask the "verifier" to put something in writing. Which the "verifier" might  readily do. Albeit making sure that, legally, they, the "verifier",  are actually committed to nothing.

So the "mark" goes away happy. Indeed so happy they put out a press release about how happy they are. While the "verifier"? They hope that no-one will notice. But even if they do? Well, actually they can put out a press release confirming they are legally committed to nothing.

And if/when the relationship between the "mark" and the "principal" goes wrong. "Look, we made our uninvolvement clear in a press release at the time!"

But the real question is not about the relationship between the "principal" and the "mark". One knows what they are doing and the other should have known.

No, the real question is why the "verifier" was prepared to vouch for the "principal" in the first place?

Anyway, as I say, my book will probably never be published. Chiefly because it will be unreadable. But hopefully some will grasp what I'm saying in the 4th, 5th and 6th paragraphs above.