Duane Lindsay starts off this installment with a few paragraphs of backstory from 1960 to 1965. The Nut Comes Off The Head Of The Joint begins in 1965. In 1960 the US elects a Catholic president in a very close election. In 1961 Leroy is present for the birth of his fourth son. In 1962 Special Agent Winslow Petrie thinks he is closing in on Leroy and “fast Kate.” In 1963 Kate graduated from High School. In 1964 Leroy and Kate decide to sell a dinosaur. This story, set in 1965, begins.
Leroy needs a lot of money for the dinosaur scam. He tries to convince Kate that “the nut comes off the head of a bolt,” meaning that you must spend money to make money. Kate is annoyed that the simpler, clearer statement is so well disguised but is far more annoyed when Leroy makes it clear that he expects Kate to use her house as collateral for the money needed. Why not Adele’s house? And where is all the money Leroy makes off gambling, the racetrack, and short cons? Kate is not happy and values her privacy and independence more than ever. She loves Leroy’s visits but is happy not to have him always around.
This is the most complex of the installments in this series to date. The grifters first decide to sell a dinosaur, one they have yet to find, and then sell it to a collector who has yet to be identified. How can they find a collector for a transaction that is illegal in the US? As with many times in the past, Kate solves the problem. They will advertise. Leroy will organize the supporting staff; archaeology students for a dig, professors qualified to provide provenance, and all the documents (legitimate and counterfeit) related to land sales.
The scheme proceeds with some fascinating side schemes as some of the grifters try to cheat each other. Why should this surprise anyone? But the big surprise, the one that makes this installment interesting is the appearance and actions at the supposed scene of the crime by Special Agent Winslow. For this part of the story alone I give this novella five stars. There is also the understated humor I have come to expect from previous installments of the series. As with other installments, this is available as a free read with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.
On to the next story.