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Jones, Careful. Careful Jones was created by “Pat Hand,” the pseudonym of Thomas Costain, and appeared in three stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in 1944 and 1945, beginning with “The Showdown” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Jan. 1944).
Careful Jones is an “almost legendary” poker player and cardsharper. He makes his living–and a good living it is–by winning money from rich men in poker games. “He liked men to make a great deal of money so that he could take some of it away from them in high-powered games of chance.” He does this through his great skill at poker, his keen eye for other players’ tells and character flaws, and his card-dealing ability. But as happens to many great pulp criminals, he begins as thorough-going criminal who lines his own pockets, and gradually succumbs to the lure of Doing Good, first helping a young Army pilot in distress and then rigging a poker hand so that war widows and war orphans get the proceeds. He ends up with a new motto: “trim the rich to help the poor.” Jones is in his late fifties or early sixties and has still gray eyes.
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