The author's exposition of the enchanted heart of a true scoundrel is managed through loud bursts of words, sunflowers of sentiment. There are, in fact, all sorts of rascals here: Tommy Henceforth, a painter's apprentice, writer, artist, con man and traitor; Perp, a shapeless Satan himself, armed with a sense of fair play and a razor; little Gabriel Chess, ne Geza Csah, injecting his thieveries into the movie game; and other minor league operators. The deals are mighty and the take is great. But it is Tommy Henceforth with his mordant, rambling wit who adds an exotic dimension to chicanery. Then the Good is represented by cafe owner Zobrany, loving and forgiving, who dances attendance upon his wife. The thieves all scheme; the Good are taken but curiously remain whole withal; and this covey of lavish characters bump along like parade balloons going nowhere in particular. Still they are great fun to watch... Untidy, but exhilarating to read.