God Save the Mark
Fred Fitch is pure of heart and substance but utterly credulous; if there is a scam operating anywhere--his rooming house where the General needs a loan to print his revelation of the secret history of the government, the street where those Little Sisters of the Poor raising funds for the homeless or anywhere in between--Fred finds it or it finds Fred to the same uncertain end. Fred even has his own contact, Reilly, on the Bunco Squad at Headquarters who adds weekly to the enormous file. But Fred's complicated life becomes really complicated when a lawyer appears to tell him that late Uncle Matt who has willed him $300,000 dies. Fred has never heard of Uncle Matt. Along with the inheritance comes the devoted Gertie Divine, Uncle 'Matt's old friend who is all too willing to become Fred's new one, and a host of mysterious guys who feel that their claim to Uncle Matt's $300,000 are far more valid than Fred's. The comic caper becomes desperate when the pursuers apparently make serious attempts on Fred's life and Gertie becomes all too devoted. New friend or cats-paw? Westlake's brilliant and original picaresque was given the MWA Edgar as the best novel of 1967.