"It wasn't about the money, dear, really it wasn't."
"Oh... The adventure, I suppose. The chance to participate in a 'hush-hush' and top secret affair. And most of all, as things progressed, my determination to beat the scoundrels."
Lotta Nutting sensed my curiosity and added confidentially, "There are, you know, more scoundrels than you might imagine. They pop up at every turn. Even in my own family -- scoundrels."
But still, I wondered, what compelled an aging and immensely wealthy heiress, descendant of a Mayflower stowaway, to conspire with the likes of the mysterious Mr. Song? Why did she try to steal Nineteen-Million-Five-Hundred-Thousand Dollars from a Hong Kong bank?
Ms. Nutting's "adventure" began with an urgent email from a Nigerian official -- and nearly ended with her poisoning at the hands of her butler. Along the way, she brutally attacked her very own foul-mouthed sister (the licensed hair braider Amanda Case), in a fit of jealousy with
a candlestick in the conservatory. And Harry Case threw all the telephones out the window. And lawyer threatened phony lawyer, from Washington to the Hague. And transfer agents demanded payment, and secret codes were used and voo-doo chants were sung to the melody of "Stardust."
And worst of all, beginning with Colonel Uday, many people died rich but heirless.
I have endeavored to get to the bottom of this improbable caper -- to expose the scoundrels and uncover their secrets -- and all the sordid details are now available in the complete account called "Next of Kin."
When all is said and done, Ms. Nutting's contention notwithstanding, it really was about the money.
I'm really hoping this is a first page because if it's anything else, I'm going to be on fire and "heirless".