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Flack, Colonel Humphrey. Colonel Humphrey Flack was created by Everett Rhodes Castle and appeared in twelve stories in The Saturday Evening Post from 1936 to 1946, beginning with “Introducing Colonel Humphrey Flack” (The Saturday Evening Post, Apr. 25, 1936).

Colonel Humphrey Flack is a Con Man. Colonel Humphrey Flack is a portly, well-dressed gentleman “out of a club window: a Peter Arno drawing with sweeping white mustaches and an expensive red face.” He is genial, albeit comporting himself with a Colonel Blimp style, but it is all an act, for he is a very clever con man who is very skilled at taking everyone, from hotel managers to other con men, for whatever he can get out of them. He is so clever that he avoids greediness and contents himself with relatively modest gains, for, in his words, “the very essence of greatness…is to know when a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Following this method has enabled him never to see the inside of a squad car or jail cell. After convincing a younger con man, Uthas P. Garvey, that he, Flack, is much more intelligent and skilled at the con game, the pair team up and have great fun enriching themselves at others’ expense.

* I've included Colonel Humphrey Flack in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because his stories are a lot of fun. Everett Rhodes Castle wrote dozens of stories for the pulps over a forty-year career, so he knew what he was doing in the writing of the Flack stories. They don't quite reach the sublimity of the Winnie O'Wynn stories, but few do. Instead, the Colonel Flack stories are simply a huge amount of con man fun, and recommended with pleasure to readers to in search of a good time. Again, the Flack stories aren't classics--but they don't need to be. Being very pleasing diversions is good enough, and that's what the Flack stories are in spades.

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