In this first novel, a small-time crook, Harry Sprockett, describes his own rise and fall with insidious charm. Fortyish, dogged with failure in his shady deals, and humorously cynical about people, Harry suddenly sees a chance to make millions in real estate. He finds a woman to love and finance him and is off yet again, dodging among other swindlers of similar ilk, making hair-breadth saves being amusing in a smart-aleck way and even, occasionally, touched with a kind of acrid honesty and like-ability. But he is double-crossed in a series of ludicrous mishaps, none of them, by Harry's telling, his fault. A slight twist at the end reveals that the reader, too, has been conned by Harry's persuasiveness and Horatio Alger appeal, into accepting as humorous what is amoral, greedy, sinister, destructively funny, and, alas, all too complexly and rapaciously human. A con-vincing job.