Sam Keel sends for Paladin regarding an urgent matter - he intends to collect winnings on a pyramid scheme for which he feels he already knows the winner. For his usual fee of $1,000, all ...
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Sam Keel sends for Paladin regarding an urgent matter - he intends to collect winnings on a pyramid scheme for which he feels he already knows the winner. For his usual fee of $1,000, all he has to do is find him. But he has recently gone missing and all the people he questions wind up dead.Written by
"Tontine Pyramids" were investment schemes to which individual subscribers each paid a specific amount of money and received annual dividends in return . As each subscriber died, their "share" went into the pot to be re-distributed among the survivors with the sponsors often the final the final beneficiaries. As represented here, the "last man (or woman) standing" simply got the lot.
Paladin is hired by an astrology-obsessed gentleman who has determined he's predestined to win a Tontine "jackpot". But he man whom he paid to "subscribe" for him, a certain Seth Carter, has disappeared; however, he does have the names of three people who might be able to lead Paladin to the missing individual.
"Seth Carter" proves to be extremely elusive. Paladin finds one of the three in a sideshow, and learns of a massacre engineered by an Indian Agent with an eye to obtaining the Indians' seized land (and its gold mine) at public auction. The second, a former Missionary turned aide to the Agent, has become mentally unhinged by guilt and fear. And the third, the Agent's own ex-wife, Paladin discovers has been reduced to working in a brothel. None of them survives their "interview" with Paladin.
So where is "Seth Carter"? Paladin figures it out, but it can't have been all that difficult: it was, after all, "in the stars"!
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